More than 20 Maine businesses and organizations are reducing their energy costs and contributing to the clean energy economy through a new community solar project in Bethel, Maine. The 5.7-MW solar array is owned and operated by Standard Solar and developed in partnership with ECA Solar.

Credit: Standard Solar

The project is part of the state’s Net Energy Billing that lets Maine utility customers offset their electric bill using the output produced by renewable energy projects, like community solar farms.

“As Maine continues its drive toward statewide clean-energy and climate-fighting goals, getting projects such as this one in Bethel completed and operational is critical,” said Harry Benson, director of business development at Standard Solar. “Standard Solar is proud to be part of one of Maine’s first completed and operational community solar projects, and we look forward to adding more projects throughout the state to make solar energy more accessible and affordable to Mainers.”

Twenty-three businesses and organizations account for 100% of the Net Energy Billing Credits created by the new Bethel community solar project. These organizations include Auburn School Department, Bowdoin College, City of Portland, Colby College, Maine General Medical Center, Maine Maritime Academy, Nestle Waters North America, University of Maine System and York County.

“ECA Solar has enjoyed working with local stakeholders to deliver this turnkey community solar project,” Todd Fryatt, President, ECA Solar. “Throughout the past two years, the Town of Bethel and the State of Maine played a key role in supporting the development and construction of this clean energy system. Among other benefits, our collective efforts were able to provide well-paying jobs using local contractors and considerable energy savings and price certainty to some of Maine’s largest employers. ECA Solar is proud to be a member of the Bethel community and is optimistic about the positive impact our project will have on the area.”

Legislation passed in the state in 2019 encouraged the development of community solar and other small renewable energy facilities establishing statewide goals of 80% renewable energy by 2030 and 100% by 2050.

“While there are many megawatts of community solar contracted in the state, progress to bring them online has been slow,” Benson said. “And while the first community solar farm came online in late 2020, the Bethel project remains one of the earlier projects that has been constructed and operational.”