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December 1, 2015

Madison utility company proposes 4-megawatt solar project

The town of Madison’s utility company is seeking proposals to build what would be Maine’s largest solar panel project.

The $8 million, 4-megawatt-capacity solar project proposed for the Madison Business Gateway business park would be larger than Bowdoin College’s 1.2-megawatt solar farm, but more expansive solar farms are also in the works.

Calvin Ames, superintendent of Madison Electric Works told the Morning Sentinel that the publicly owned utility company would buy power from the 4-megawatt solar facility for 20 to 30 years before eventually purchasing the facility. Madison Electric Works, a town department, provides electricity to about 2,300 customers in the downtown area, the business park and the commercial greenhouse Backyard Farms.

Ames said a New York-based solar company approached town officials about eight months ago expressing interest in building the solar facility. Because the Madison solar company is a nonprofit organization, town officials advertised a request for proposals to build the facility, Ames told the Sentinel. He wouldn’t disclose the name of the company.

The winning bidder would pay for the cost of construction on a Madison Electric-owned 15-acre parcel in the business park, according to the Sentinel.

This wasn’t the only large solar project to proposed this year in the state.

Last spring, a developer proposed building 2.8-megawatt capacity project in Gouldsboro, but financing for the project hinged on a proposed in state law that wasn’t approved last legislative session. The status of the project is unclear.

Another proposal called for a 10- to 20-megawatt solar project to be built on 100 acres in Winslow. The town approved new regulations in October that would potentially allow the project, but the plan fell apart two weeks ago when the landowner and solar company couldn’t agree on contract terms, according to the Sentinel.

The company behind that proposal, Ranger Solar, which is incorporated in Delaware and has an office in Yarmouth, is looking for a new site in Winslow.

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