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So, What’s Up at Maine Solar Solutions This Summer?

Replenova Farm’s solar array consists of 59 panels producing about 31,600 kilowatt-hours of electricity in its first year of operation. This reduced carbon emissions by 48,938 pounds. (Replenova Farm)

George Harvey

It seems there are always interesting things going on at Maine Solar Solutions, and it is time to revisit them in Green Energy Times.

Recently, they were able to report on the success of a system they had installed for one of their customers. Maine Solar Solutions installed a solar array at the Replenova Farm, in Durham, Maine, and now, with the passing of time, we have been given a record of a year’s performance. The array has been called a great success by the customer.

Replenova Farm is certified organic by the Maine Organic Farms and Gardens Association. Its operations are entirely sustainable. It is not large, at 17 acres. But it has a barn, two commercial kitchens, and five high tunnel greenhouses. In addition to lighting, these buildings can have powerful electricity demands. They have a walk-in cooler, three refrigerators, and a freezer. The farm provides breakfast and lunch, and so it has multiple electric ovens and induction burners. It uses electric hot water. All of the greenhouses need ventilation. No fossil fuels are used, and all of the power is electric, and it is all solar, when possible.

Gary Goodrich, the owner of Replenova Farm, made clear that he has the goal of sustaining the land, water, and air resources in ways that are compatible with local food production and sales through our farm market. This includes wholesale and retail customers. The farm also donates vegetables to the Good Shepherd Food Bank.

The system was designed by Maine Solar Solutions, which took the customer’s sustainability goals into account. The solar array has 59 panels, which produced 31,600 kilowatt-hours of electricity over the course of 2020. The excess electricity produced on sunny summer days is banked for use later, when the days are shorter and the sun is not as bright.

Apart from the payoff of reducing electricity costs quite a lot in the long run, Goodrich can take pride in the fact that his organic farm’s energy use reduced carbon emissions over their previous output by 48,938 pounds over the course of the system’s first year of operation. Maine Solar Solutions helped apply for a REAP grant for the system, which was awarded. Goodrich said, “If we can do projects like this to not only save money but help our environment and give back to our communities, just by taking advantage of something as abundant as the sun, then it’s worth looking into.

One of the things Gary Goodrich said he liked best about the electric system is that requires nearly no maintenance. That is something a farmer can appreciate.

ServiceMaster’s 50kWsolar array consists of 114 panels. It reduces carbon emissions by 39.3 metric tons per year. (ServiceMaster Clean)

Another recent installation worth reporting is a 49.59 kilowatt (kW) solar photovoltaic installation for ServiceMaster in Auburn, Maine. ServiceMaster is a very interesting company that specializes in helping people and businesses recover from disasters. For more than a quarter century, it has been helping clean and restore homes and business locations after fires, floods, and other similarly distressing problems. Its services range from carpet and upholstery cleaning to mold remediation and sewage cleanup.

Clearly, a business of this type can use a lot of electricity, which is the reason why it would have an array of nearly 50 kW. Maine Solar Solutions designed the solar system to provide 100% of ServiceMaster’s electricity for its 10,000 square foot building. The solar array has 114 roof-mounted REC 435-watt solar panels with Solar Edge inverters. The solar system will reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by 39.3 metric tons every year. This is the equivalent of one gasoline-powered car driven 98,840 miles.

Given the type of work ServiceMaster does, it should not be surprising that it operates with a great interest in resilience and sustainability. Steve Cox, the co-owner of the company, expressed his views on the possibilities of solar power, saying, “Not only do we see this as a cost-effective solution for the business’s future energy expenses, but it also protects our environment and, in turn, the community we care so much about.”

We might also note that Maine Solar Solutions can help guide customers as they think about ways to finance systems. There are many ways to do this, and there is an informative posting on this in the blog at the company’s website.

Maine Solar Solutions’ website is mainesolarsolutions.com.

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