Gaps in two rows of panels show yet more panels at a solar farm that was installed in late 2018 at a former landfill site next to the local Tremont town office. Lamoine voters last week authorized selectmen to pursue a lease agreement with a California solar developer to erect a solar array on town-owned land off Route 184. Credit: Bill Trotter | BDN

Voters in Lamoine last week gave selectmen the go-ahead to negotiate a lease with a California solar firm that is interested in building a solar array on town-owned land, according to a town official. The move would make Lamoine the latest Hancock County town with a solar array on public property.

About 43 voters approved the concept at a special town meeting held Thursday, Nov. 7, at the Lamoine town office, said Stu Marckoon, administrative assistant to the town’s selectmen. The size of the array and the value of the lease have yet to be worked out, he said.

“There’s no final plan yet,” Marckoon said.

The array would be built by the San Jose-based firm SunPower on land next to the town’s former landfill, Marckoon said. The lease term likely would be for 20 years, with the town receiving between $40,000 and $79,000 each year from the lease, depending in part on the size of the project, he said.

The terms also could reflect agreements with neighboring property owners about cutting trees on adjacent properties to maintain sunlight exposure for the array, he added. Lamoine also would have to establish utility easements to the proposed solar site off Route 184, also known as Lamoine Beach Road.

SunPower would sell the electricity generated at the site to Emera Maine, which distributes power generated by other power producers. The town might work out an agreement to buy electricity from SunPower at some point to power its municipal buildings, according to Marckoon, but the initial vote last week was simply to pursue land lease negotiations.

Lamoine is not a big power consumer, he said, and selectmen wanted to focus first on the potential lease before exploring whether the town might purchase its electrical supply directly from the developer.

Marckoon said it likely will take “several months” for selectmen to work out lease terms with SunPower.

“There’s no rush on our part,” he said.

The solar installation would be the latest either developed or under consideration in Hancock County. Solar arrays have been installed at a closed landfill in Tremont, on the roof of Mount Desert Island High School in Bar Harbor and on Bucksport’s public works building.

The city of Ellsworth also is considering whether to pursue the installation of a solar power array at its closed landfill on Stabawl Road.

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Bill Trotter

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....