Maine’s community solar portfolio is receiving a new project for the Town of Richmond. During a Planning Board meeting in mid-December, members provided approval for a new solar project to be built at 176 Alexander Reed Road. Turning Point Energy will be at the head of the installation, which is planned to generate upwards of 5 megawatts.
Turning Point Energy is one of many solar developers expanding renewable access in the state of Maine. After L.D. 1711 was passed in 2019, Maine has seen an influx of development companies vying for connection to the local grid. The net metering legislation has made it more fruitful to try and sell solar power throughout the state. Along with the recently approved Richmond project, other installations in Randolph, Augusta, and Gardiner have received the “okay” from the Planning Board.
According to Turning Point’s application for the project, the installation will serve community members who can’t or don’t want to install panels on their property. As with most community solar facilities, the Alexander Redd Road facility will generate power filtered out to individual subscribers. In exchange for subscribing to the service, homeowners and businesses are eligible for a credit on their monthly utility bills.
Maine’s community solar portfolio has included nearly 12 new projects from Turning Point alone. Turning Point Energy represents approximately 60 megawatts of solar installations throughout the state, each of which is currently in different development stages. None have gone active yet, though Turning Point expects a few to become operational in the second half of 2021.
According to Salar Naini, Turning Points’ vice president of business development, the next stage for the Richmond project is for the town to determine how the installation will affect local taxes. Town Manager Adam Garland explained that, as solar is relatively new to Maine, towns are unsure how to assess the facilities’ taxes.
While the town is determining taxation, Turning Point is more focused on ensuring construction commences fulfilling the promise of new jobs, electricity cost savings, and local economic growth.