A new solar power project in Belfast is live, generating up to seven megawatts of energy for nearly 1,000 Maine residential and small-business customers.
The community solar project is a partnership between PowerMarket, a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based solar management company, and SunRaise Investments, a solar energy developer, owner and operator headquartered in Portsmouth, N.H. The Belfast development is the third the companies have launched to start producing power in Maine.
A 1.35-megawatt array in Gardiner was the first, followed by a project in Baldwin, of similar size to Belfast's.
The Belfast array is on Perkins Road and covers roughly 20 acres of a former hay field.
“We are thrilled that this community solar project has gone online and is now providing the grid with clean energy,” Patrick Jackson, co-founder of SunRaise, said in a news release.
“Being from New England, our goal in Maine has been simple — provide more New Englanders access to clean energy. Community solar is a way to provide people from all walks of life — homeowners, renters, business owners and more — access to renewable energy.”
SunRaise develops, owns and operates the projects, while PowerMarket, with an office in Monson, works to find and manage subscribers.
Once subscribed, the companies say, customers receive renewable energy credits towards their regular electric bill and receive up to a 15% discount, depending on the project.
Projects like these are coming on line across Maine at a fast pace as a result of 2019 state legislation that expanded opportunities for solar companies to build. Among the changes was a law that raised the cap on net metering — the ability to store excess generated energy for use or sale — for arrays from 660 kilowatts to up to five megawatts.
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