News Release for August 17, 2022
AUGUSTA - Today, the Maine Department of Transportation announced the beginning of work to install solar arrays on three state-owned properties in Augusta.
The three projects are located at the Augusta Airport and inside the I-95 interchanges at Exits 109 and 112. Once completed, the arrays will provide low-cost renewable energy to power both the Capital complex and East Campus.
The solar projects will be owned and operated by Cenergy Power, which was selected for the project through a competitive bidding process. Once online, the arrays will generate approximately 8.5 MW of solar energy - enough to power about 1,000 homes - and are estimated to reduce state carbon emissions by up to 2,000 metric tons annually and reduce state electricity costs by at least $7.2 million over the next 20 years.
"This is a win-win for the people of Maine," said MaineDOT Commissioner Bruce Van Note. "The solar arrays constructed on three parcels of state-owned land in Augusta will save the state and state taxpayers money while also reducing the impact our energy use has on our climate."
"These solar projects will benefit nearly 1.7 million square feet of public buildings across our two campuses," said Department of Administrative and Financial Services Commissioner Kirsten Figueroa. "Once online, these arrays will help reduce costs for taxpayers and reduce emissions from state power consumption, in support of Governor Mills' direction for the state government to lead by example in renewable energy and sustainability."
"Cenergy is excited to work with MaineDOT to develop and build these three solar projects on state-owned land," said Cenergy's VP of Development, Chad Chahbazi. "We are especially grateful for the goodwill and collaboration shared by the MaineDOT team to get the projects past their development phase and into their construction phase."
Each solar array site will include pollinator-friendly vegetation management practices. Cenergy is beginning work at Exit 109 this week, with further work at the other sites expected to commence later this month.
The solar arrays by MaineDOT support Governor Janet Mills' "Lead by Example" plan for state government, which encourages energy efficiency and sustainability measures in state government to reduce long-term operating costs and advance state climate goals.
The plan, released in 2021, calls for state electricity use to be from 100 percent renewable sources by 2024 and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from state operations by 45 percent by 2030.
These targets align with Maine's overall climate action plan, Maine won't Wait, and the state's statutory goals to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045, reduce emissions by 45 percent by 2030 and at least 80 percent by 2050, and transition to 80 percent renewable energy by 2030 and a goal of 100 percent by 2050.