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April 25, 2018

Cumberland eyes $1.1M municipal solar array at its landfill

The town of Cumberland plans to work with ReVision Energy on the potential installation of a municipal solar array on top of capped landfill on Drowne Road.

The Forecaster reported the installation of a solar farm would be designed to meet most of the town's electricity needs. At a town council meeting on Monday, though, several residents of the nearby Village Green housing development expressed concerns about potential visual impacts and adverse effects on property values. No other locations have been considered thus far.

"The neighborhood increasingly feels, sounds and looks like an industrial complex with decisions made by the town that blatantly disfavor Village Green and renege on previous agreements," Katherine Pelletreau of Drowne Road wrote in a letter to the council.

She added that meeting the town's energy needs through alternative sources of power makes sense, "but there are lots of better spaces." Dennis and Mary Chick said that "locating on a landfill appears to be a good choice for South Portland and Belfast, but these locations are not adjacent to planned subdivisions or neighborhoods."

ReVision proposes building a $1.1 million array, with 1,376 panels that generate about 617,000 kilowatt-hours annually.

Cumberland is the latest to consider a municipal array. Earlier this month, the town of St. George flipped the switch on its new solar array atop the roof of the town's transfer station, which is expected to supply 90% of power to municipal buildings. The town of Camden fired up its first municipal solar array in January. In 2017, the city councils of Portland and South Portland approved contracts with Portland-based ReVision Energy to create two of the state's largest municipal solar farms on each city's former landfill.

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