AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Department of Transportation has begun installing solar panel arrays at three sites in Augusta.
The state estimates the projects will reduce Maine's carbon emissions by up to 2,000 metric tons annually and reduce state electricity costs by at least $7.2 million over the next 20 years, according to a release issued Wednesday by the MaineDOT.
The state said there will be no cost to taxpayers for the installation or maintenance of the solar panel arrays.
The three projects are located at the Augusta Airport and inside the I-95 interchanges at Exits 109 and 112. Once completed, the arrays will provide low-cost renewable energy to power both the Capital complex and East Campus, Wednesday's release stated.
The solar projects will be owned and operated by Cenergy Power, which the MaineDOT said was selected for the project through a competitive bidding process. Once online, the arrays will generate approximately 8.5 MW of solar energy – enough to power about 1,000 homes, according to the state.
Cenergy is beginning work at Exit 109 this week, with further work at the other sites expected to commence later in August.
“This is a win-win for the people of Maine,” MaineDOT Commissioner Bruce Van Note said in Wednesday's release. “The solar arrays constructed on three parcels of state-owned land in Augusta will save the state – and state taxpayers – money while also reducing the impact our energy use has on our climate.”
The MaineDOT said the projects align with the state's "Maine Won't Wait" overall climate action plan and the state’s statutory goals to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045, reduce emissions by 45 percent by 2030 and at least 80 percent by 2050, and transition to 80 percent renewable energy by 2030 and a goal of 100 percent by 2050.
“These solar projects will benefit nearly 1.7 million square feet of public buildings across our two campuses,” Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services Commissioner Kirsten Figueroa said in Wednesday's release. “Once online, these arrays will help reduce costs for taxpayers and reduce emissions from state power consumption, in support of Governor Mills’ direction for state government to lead by example in renewable energy and sustainability.”