Developer plans to install solar farm in Presque Isle

National Renewable Solutions has reached an agreement with the city of Presque Isle to install a solar farm near the airport, construction in the spring.
Published: Oct. 7, 2020 at 11:50 AM EDT
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The city of Presque Isle has reached an agreement with National Renewable Solutions for the installation of a solar farm. Kathy McCarty has more on what this means for the community.

Bills signed into law last spring have opened up the green energy market in Maine, making places like Presque Isle marketable for projects like solar energy.

“The city is moving forward with a private-public partnership for solar farms located around the - the airport. It’s gonna be basically on both ends of the runway, kind of tucked away. So combined total for acreage is about 30 acres,” says Presque Isle City Manager Martin Puckett.

The idea is to incentivize and encourage development of smaller projects that can be built in the communities they’ll serve with generated power. Brad Wilson, of NRS, says they looked throughout Maine but liked the idea of being part of the historic military base and Industrial Park in Presque Isle.

“We like to look for what we call redevelopment opportunities. By that I mean pieces of land that have already been impacted by development at some point in the past and, for whatever reason, maybe don’t have a ton of viability for other future uses. Solar’s great because it can - it can really be put in a lot of really strange locations,” says Brad Wilson, Lead Solar Developer for National Renewable Solutions.

A lease agreement has been signed with the city and other paperwork has been completed, with plans to break ground next spring.

“Those two projects are each what we call 3 megawatt solar projects - it’s the nameplate generating capacity. And each project will have around 10,000 solar panels, so between the two projects around 20,000 total solar panels,” says Wilson.

The proximity to potential customers at the Industrial Park, the city and surrounding communities was a major draw.

“The benefit of this program is that they are gonna be leasing the land from the city; it’s a long-term lease. So we will have revenue from leasing the land,” says Puckett.

Annually, the lease will be $42,000, with an estimated $60,000 in property taxes. The city will also benefit from the purchase of electricity, making the project a win for the city and its taxpayers. Wilson plans to continue discussing the project during City Council’s October 7th meeting.

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