The array off Highland Avenue is expected to generate about 12 percent of the electricity used by the city’s school and municipal buildings.
by Kelley Bouchard, Staff Writer
Portland Press Herald news story
SOUTH PORTLAND — Construction of a solar array on the city’s capped landfill is expected to start in July after the City Council approved final adjustments to the power purchase agreement Monday.
Portland-based ReVision Energy will install 2,944 photovoltaic panels on the 34-acre former landfill, which is behind the solid-waste transfer station and the public services facility that’s being built at 929 Highland Ave.
The council voted 7-0 to make minor changes in the power purchase agreement with ReVision, such as increasing the panel size from 335 watts to 345 watts. As a result, the array will contain 48 fewer panels – 2,992 were originally planned – but provide slightly greater capacity and efficiency, said Julie Rosenbach, the city’s sustainability coordinator.
The solar array is expected to generate 1.2 million kilowatt-hours of energy per year, about 12 percent of the electricity used by South Portland’s school and municipal buildings.
Rosenbach developed the project with ReVision in tandem with Portland officials, who negotiated a similar agreement for a solar array on that city’s capped landfill off Ocean Avenue. As a private, for-profit company, ReVision can build the arrays using federal tax credits that aren’t available to municipalities, which are nonprofits.
Each community will purchase the electricity from ReVision at rates higher-than-market prices for the first six years, before being able to buy the equipment outright for nearly $1.6 million.
In the long run, the cities could save money – and possibly even make money – because they would generate their own power rather than purchase it from the grid.