Where the sun does shine (and generate power) in Maine

Maine doesn’t have any grid-scale solar projects online, but it does punch above its weight for installed solar capacity, according to one database.

I took a look at those state-level figures for a story on Maine Beer Co.’s recently installed solar arrays in Freeport and the town’s broader effort to get a batch of businesses to go in together on buying solar generation.

So far, the picture of installed solar in the state looks a little like this (though it lacks data from the state’s largest solar installer):


The figures above show the 50 kilowatt Maine Beer Co. installation doubled the town’s previously installed solar capacity, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Open PV Project figures.

That list does not include projects from ReVision Energy, which installed 1.8 megawatts last year — double the statewide total in the Open PV database.

The total installation figure could be an issue for the solar industry this year. Homes or businesses that generate their own power can get credits on their bills through what’s called net metering. When net metering capacity reaches 1 percent of the state’s total generation capacity, regulators will reassess that program.

And the planned 333 kilowatts of new capacity planned by the group Solarize Freeport would amount to about 11 percent of what was installed statewide, according to updated figures from NREL’s database and solar installer ReVision Energy.

In Freeport, ReVision said it has 1 megawatt of solar capacity, including a project at the Freeport Library.

The NREL database shows the capacity of solar units installed dropped in 2014 compared with 2012 and 2013, while having the single-highest quarter for installations since the project began tracking solar projects.

That was due to completion of a 1.2 megawatt installation at Bowdoin College (Go U Bears). Brunswick and Waterville (where Thomas College and Colby College have solar installations) are first and second in the state for capacity, by town.

Another developer announced plans in April for what would be the largest solar array in the state, a 2.8 megawatt facility at the former Navy radar base in Corea. Kim Kenway, developer of that project, said it depended on changes to state law around solar power that won’t come out of this Legislative session.

Darren Fishell

About Darren Fishell

Darren is a Portland-based reporter for the Bangor Daily News writing about the Maine economy and business. He's interested in putting economic data in context and finding the stories behind the numbers.