Maine’s largest solar plant goes live

As the solar industry continues is spread across all 50 states, large-scale solar is coming not only to power cities, but also small towns and rural areas. As the latest demonstration of this, Maine’s Cianbro and New Jersey-based Advanced Solar Products have completed a 4.6 MW-AC solar project which will supply power to a small municipal utility in Central Maine, as the state’s largest solar project.

IGS Solar financed and will own and operate the system, and sell all the generated power to Madison Electric Works (MEW) under a long-term contract. MEW serves 2,500 residential, commercial and industrial customers located in Madison and three neighboring towns in Somerset County, and this system is expected to meet 20% of the utility’s electric demand.

This is a very large share of solar, and places MEW in a leading position among utilities – both publicly and investor-owned – nationally.

The use of local labor was important for MEW. “It was a priority for us to enlist Maine-based companies where possible, which meant nearly all of the labor involved in the installation was performed by highly skilled individuals living right here in the Pine Tree State,” stated MEW General Manager Calvin Ames.

MEW will have the option to purchase the system before the end of the 25-year power purchase agreement.