Nautilus Solar Energy has acquired a 47-megawatt community solar portfolio in Maine. The facilities originally belonged to ISM Solar Development, LLC, which deals in large utility and commercial solar projects. Developments that are part of the portfolio have been planned in York, Knox, Oxford, and Cumberland counties, but construction isn’t scheduled to start until Q3 of 2021. Upon completion, Nautilus’ new portfolio is expected to generate enough energy for nearly 10,000 homes in Central Maine Power’s territory.
The community solar portfolio was developed as part of the state’s Net Energy Billing program. Amended in June 2019, the program was designed to deliver low-cost clean energy to homeowners throughout Maine. Since solar power typically requires costly solar panels installed at the homeowner’s expense, these community solar projects allow homeowners and small businesses to participate in renewable energy without the high cost.
Nautilus’ acquisition of the community solar portfolio makes it the long-term owner, which means handling customer subscriptions and managing individual accounts. According to the plan behind each project, the facilities will be open to all Central Maine Power customers and will require no upfront costs to subscribe. However, spaces are limited. Participants do have the option to back out early without incurring a fee, thanks to a contract-free agreement.
When the community solar portfolio becomes operational, it’s expected to produce upwards of 70 million kilowatt-hours per year. This is a considerable jump for the state’s clean energy goal, which aims to switch 80% of its used power to clean energy by 2030. It also hopes to increase that number to 100% within an additional 20 years.
Nautilus and ISM have done business together before, with an exchange of acquisition on a community solar portfolio first occurring in Rhode Island. One of the projects in Rhode Island, the Burrillville facility, is the longest-running residential project in the state.