02 Dec Bristol to Generate 75% Of Its Power from Solar Energy
Sundog Solar installed a 73.7kW solar system at the Bristol – South Bristol Transfer Facility in Bristol, Maine. The solar system consists of 220 solar panels and is located between the highway and town sheds. The system will save an estimated $210,000 over the next thirty years and produce clean power.
“Installing this solar system is the right thing to do for the town,” says Chris Hall, the Bristol Town Administrator. “It will save the town money and will set a good example for residents.”
Bristol voters approved installing the solar system last March during an open town meeting. Hall believes the project received significant support because of the projected cost savings and many residents are very supportive of the environmental benefits. The solar system is now providing solar electricity to eight of the towns electric meters and will produce an estimated 75% of Bristol’s power each year.
The solar panels are located on what was previously vacant land with no future plans. “At Sundog Solar, we like to install solar systems on land with few possibilities for beneficial use,” explains Chuck Piper, co-owner of Sundog Solar. “This project site isn’t tillable and didn’t have the potential for building expansion.”
The solar system was installed through a Power Purchase Agreement between Sundog Solar and the Town of Bristol. This is an attractive arrangement for municipalities, schools, and non-profit organizations to go solar with no money down. Sundog Solar also assumes responsibility for maintaining and repairing the system as long as it owns the system.
The Town of Bristol agreed to purchase the solar electricity generated by the system at a lower rate than the electric company, resulting in significant savings over the life of the system. Under the contract, the town has the option to either buy the solar system at the end of six years for fair market value or continue to purchase the power at a discounted rate.
“Power Purchase Agreements are a great way for Maine towns to generate clean, solar energy and promote energy independence while also saving money,” says Piper.