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Business and Economy

Officials Flip Switch On Maine's Largest Municipal Solar Installation

Abukar Adan
Maine Public
South Portland's solar array, the largest municipal solar installation in Maine, went online Tuesday.

South Portland city officials flipped the switch on Maine's largest municipal solar project Tuesday morning. The project was developed in collaboration with the city of Portland by Portland-based ReVision Energy.

South Portland officials say it's expected to save both cities millions of dollars in the long run. Mayor Patricia Smith says South Portland has been working on renewable energy projects for several years.  

"So many members of our community are looking to create a community that is reducing its carbon footprint, thinking forward in terms of renewable energy, and how we do that, individually and collectively," she says. "And I am thrilled the community is behind this big project." 

"I think it's a wonderful thing," says local resident Bob Morill, who attended the event. "I am so glad to see that South Portland is going to lead the way on something like this.  It's the future and I think it's a great day for South Portland and the state of Maine."

ReVision installed nearly 3,000 solar panels in the city's 34-acre former landfill. The panels are expected to generate 12 percent of the electricity the city's municipal and school buildings use.

Portland's solar project has been delayed by some technical issues. City officials say a portion of the Ocean Avenue landfill has to be regraded before the solar array can be installed.  The regrading will reduce the possibility of storm water infiltrating into the landfill cap.

That work is currently underway, officials say, and is expected to be completed by the end of the year.