ELLSWORTH — Two separate building permits issued in March for two Mariaville Road solar arrays and accessory equipment signal another step forward in Ellsworth going “green.”
The City Council in October and November of 2020 approved signing 20-year contracts with Portsmouth, N.H.-based SunRaise Investments to purchase net energy billing credits generated by the two arrays. The building permits were issued to Sun-Rea LLC, a Yarmouth branch of Delaware-based Sun-Rea LLC, which will construct the facilities.
With the permits in hand, construction will begin during springtime and finish this fall. Construction costs are estimated at $1.6 million for one farm and $1.75 million for the second.
Together, the two solar farms will generate enough electricity to power city buildings, City Manager Glenn Moshier said prior to the first contract approval.
The projected savings for the city should be significant. Moshier noted last October that the city could see savings of $3.6 million over the 20-year lifespan of the contracts. About two-thirds of the savings will be driven to city accounts that rely on local tax dollars, and a third of the savings to so-called enterprise accounts, such as sewer and water, that are mainly driven through fees.
Maine allows customers to offset electricity bills using the output from small, renewable generators, such as the Mariaville Road solar arrays, through purchasing credits for solar energy already loaded onto the local electrical grid.