Buffalo, N.Y.-based M&T Bank has provided $22.4 million in equipment lease financing for Cianbro Corp. to complete the construction and commissioning of the Pittsfield Solar Project in Maine, located off Route 2 in Pittsfield.
The project consists of 40,300 solar panels erected on 57 acres of a 115-acre parcel owned by Cianbro. The energy is sent to the ISO New England grid, where the electricity is sold under a 20-year contract with Central Maine Power Co. The Pittsfield Solar Project is now the largest operating within ISO New England, M&T Bank claims.
M&T Bank began leasing renewable energy equipment in 2014 and has provided about $180 million of financing, of which about $100 million has gone to 42 solar projects. The Pittsfield facility is the largest solar energy project the bank has financed.
The Pittsfield Solar Project has the capacity to send up to 9.9 MW of AC electricity to the grid every hour during ideal conditions – enough to supply 6,500 homes at peak generation.
“It’s good, clean energy,” says Cianbro’s facilities manager, Tom Ruksznis, who spearheaded the development of the solar project. “We converted a cornfield, a little strip of woods and a hay field and turned it into an energy-producing facility. It’s quiet, it’s clean and it will deliver over 20 years of low-maintenance electricity.”
Ruksznis also points out that the facility contributes to the Pittsfield tax base and helped the local economy in 2017 with more than 100 construction workers who built the project.