The city council of Saco, Maine, has unanimously approved an option for developers of the GridSolar plan to enter into a 20-year lease with the city to install solar panels on city-owned land. GridSolar was proposed as a smart-grid alternative to the $1.5 billion upgrade in transmission lines proposed by Central Maine Power Co. (CMP).
‘Saco has been a leader in Maine in its commitment to renewable energy development,’ says Richard Silkman, a founding partner of GridSolar. ‘We believe that this agreement and the approval by Maine's Public Utilities Commission of the GridSolar Project will enable Saco to forego the disruptive transmission upgrades that CMP is seeking in local neighborhoods and rely instead on generation resources located in Saco to meet projected future load growth.’
The agreement provides that GridSolar will pay an annual lease fee of $25,000 for the property, as well as property taxes on all improvements to the property. At full build-out, the electricity generated by the GridSolar initiative would represent about half of all electricity used by CMP's residential customers, according to the developers.