Doubling Solar Capacity in 2018 and 2019 through Grid Scale Solar Photovoltaics

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Our volunteer team is investigating several suitable sites on MDI that can support a large solar PV array with minimal impact on the environment, the community, and scenery. Grid-scale solar will increase our energy security, reduce the export of energy dollars off-island, and support our local economy. The MDI Grid-Scale Solar Energy Project as an important next step toward achieving our bold mission of energy independence for MDI by 2030.

Goals

  • Double solar energy production on MDI in 2018 and once again in 2019.

  • Work with towns, Acadia National Park, and Emera Maine to facilitate the development of the first grid-scale solar arrays on MDI. Grid-scale refers to projects larger than rooftop arrays that feed power to many ratepayers through power purchase agreements and/or wholesale contracts with the utility.

Utilities are pursuing grid-scale solar because improved efficiency and sharply falling prices for photovoltaic panels, federal tax breaks, and state renewable energy mandates make solar one of  the cheapest options for electrical generation today. The first utility-scale 5 MW solar power plant in Maine was completed in January 2017 through a municipality owned utility in Madison, Maine. Such projects boost both local and state economies -- nearly all of the labor involved in the installation was performed by highly skilled individuals living in Maine.

Solar power also increases energy security. This summer, heavily touristed Cape Hatteras, North Carolina was evacuated for one week when cables transmitting power to the islands were accidentally damaged. Our utility, Emera Maine, has encouraged ACTT to secure a 1+ MW site on the island to reduce the strain on the infrastructure that brings electricity to MDI over the causeway.  Providing locally generated electricity during peak summer demand when solar potential is the greatest will also offset the very high prices the utility must pay for energy supply at those times.

We're looking for volunteers interested in gathering data on the many aspects of site development and outreach to town and park officials, landowners, the Maine Coast Heritage Trust, and professionals who can turn this dream into reality. To find out more or to keep informed of our next meeting dates please complete the following.

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