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New England's largest solar farm comes online

The project is estimated to provide power to 17,000 homes across the New England region

FARMINGTON, Maine — New England’s largest solar energy farm came online Monday in Farmington.

The 490-acre array, owned by Florida-based NextEra Energy, connects to the ISO New England grid, which serves all six New England states.

Mariel Marchand is the power supply planner for Cape Light Compact, a company that just signed a 20-year contract with NextEra to send 6% of the farm’s power to Cape Codders. Marchand hopes it means more reliable rates for her customers.

"It’s like a pool with a bunch of different hoses going into it, and then people taking water out of that pool," Marchand said, describing the ISO-NE to NEWS CENTER Maine on Tuesday.

Bowdoin College joined four schools from Massachusetts to help fund the massive farm of panels. Bowdoin's senior vice president of finance, Matt Orlando, explained how the college will receive renewable energy credits for investing in the farm. For helping get a clean energy project off the ground, Bowdoin gets to claim those credits toward offsetting its own recorded carbon footprint.

That's all well and good for Bowdoin, but why should Mainers be excited to house 490 acres of solar panels, while its energy is dispersed to all six New England states?

"Atmospheric carbon dioxide is not aware of state borders," Orlando said as he pointed to the sky.

"Not being a Mainer, I don't want to impose anything on anyone else, but ... pollution and all of these global warming issues are certainly not abiding by the borders of states," Marchand said. "So, I think that the more we can all, kind of, work together to try to combat these issues, the better."

Bowdoin estimates the Farmington solar project will power close to 17,000 New England homes annually.


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