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South Portland solar farm projected to offset 60% of the city's municipal energy needs

S Portland solar2.jpg
Murray Carpenter
Maine Public
South Portland mayor Deqa Dhalac cuts the ribbon on the final phase of a 4.7 megawatt solar farm on a capped landfill. Looking on are Thomas Biddinger of Calibrant Energy, South Portland Sustainability Director Julie Rosenbach, and Phil Coupe of ReVision Energy.

South Portland marked a milestone Thursday, celebrating the last phase of a large solar farm on an old landfill. The solar farm is massive —nearly 13,000 panels in all. Generating 4.7 megawatts of power, it is projected to offset more than 60 percent of the City of South Portland's municipal energy needs.

Mayor Deqa Dhalac credited the city council for its ambitious climate initiatives.

"So hopefully we will not stop here," Dhalac said. "But really move forward when it comes to saving energy and also talking about the climate crisis and climate change and environmental justice in all."

South Portland sustainability director Julie Rosenbach said the project fits neatly into the city's climate action plan.

"A big component of our climate action plan is to electrify our energy use, and that's in buildings and vehicles," Rosenbach said. "Because it's far easier to tie things into the grid, and have the grid run off of renewable energy."

The project was financed by Calibrant Energy through an agreement managed by ReVision Energy. South Portland paid nothing to install the panels. It will buy the power at a less than market rate, and have the option of buying the system in seven years.

The city estimates that it will offset over 4,000 metric tons of carbon emissions annually.

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