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Biden administration announces ambitious community solar plan, including Maine projects

Dave Kolpack
Associated Press/via Bangor Daily News

Vice President Kamala Harris toured a solar panel manufacturing plant in Georgia on Friday, and announced an ambitious initiative.

Harris said manufacturer Qcells will cooperate with Summit Ridge Energy to deploy 2.5 million solar panels, generating 1.2 gigawatts of community solar power.

Leslie Elder, Summit Ridge Energy's Vice President of Political and Regulatory Affairs, said the company is developing projects nationwide, including 80 megawatts of solar projects in 11 Maine counties. Elder expects some of the Qcells panels to be installed in Maine later this year.

Jeremy Payne, of the Maine Renewable Energy Association, applauded the initiative.

"What's particularly exciting is, given the commitment that is being made regarding the number of megawatts, and therefore the number of panels, it is clearly allowing manufacturing facilities to be built domestically," Payne said. "And if we're talking about making a clean energy transition, it just makes good logical sense to have as much of that sited in America as possible."

Community solar projects allow subscribers to benefit from solar power without installing panels on their own property.

Murray Carpenter is Maine Public’s climate reporter, covering climate change and other environmental news.