14 Feb Sundog Solar Installs Panels on Old Damariscotta Landfill
Damariscotta, Maine – Sundog Solar is installing a 65.1 kW solar array on the old Damariscotta landfill to provide discounted power. The 176 solar panels will soon produce 100% of the electricity for municipal buildings. Damariscotta voters approved the solar project at a special meeting on June 19, 2019. Because a third party owns the solar system, the installation has no upfront cost to the town.
Damariscotta will purchase the solar electricity at a lower price than grid power, resulting in instant savings. Over time, the solar array will create greater savings as the cost of grid power increases, and the cost of the solar electricity remains fixed.
The solar installation work began in December, despite the winter weather. Construction should be completed within a month.
“It is a common misbelief that solar panels cannot be installed in cold weather,” says Chuck Piper, co-owner of Sundog Solar. “In this case, it is actually easier to install solar panels in the winter. We must keep the landfill cap intact to protect the environment while completing our work. This is less complicated when the ground is frozen.”
Damariscotta Solar LLC owns the solar system, and Sundog Solar is responsible for maintaining it. Solar electricity is sold to the town at a discounted rate, saving taxpayer money.
“There are few commercial development options for capped landfills, and they provide no ongoing value to area residents,” said Danny Piper, co-owner of Sundog Solar. “Installing this solar system is a win-win solution for communities and the environment. Instead of the landfill being an economic drain, the on-site solar energy production can reduce the operating expenses of the town.”
Sundog Solar also recently installed systems on the Tremont and Waldoboro landfills. With more than 400 closed landfills in Maine, there is great potential to generate clean energy from these sites.
Maine has a 100% renewable energy commitment by 2050. Towns utilizing solar energy are a great step towards realizing this goal.