Southport is looking to save some green by going green. At a special town meeting June 12, 57 voters unanimously authorized appropriating up to $175,000 to buy and install a solar-powered array for municipal properties. The array would provide approximately 90% of municipal electricity needs for the town office, school, fire station, library and public works buildings.
Based on a feasibility study, energy consultant Andrew Karl of Revision Energy in Liberty reported that installing a solar array of 140 panels producing 55 kw would save taxpayers $250,000 over 40 years. “It would pay for itself in 15 years and save the town nearly a quarter of a million dollars over the panel’s 40-year lifespan,” he said.
Selectmen became interested in municipal solar power in 2016 when the Boothbay Region Water District bought panels. Selectmen Gerry Gamage and Smith Climo serve as the town’s representatives on the water district. “Gerry and I started this three years ago as water trustees when the same company (Revision) did a presentation. We investigated what it could save the town and this is why we brought it forth to you. We think this makes both dollars and sense for the town,” Climo said.
The bid also includes funds for annual maintenance which Karl estimated at $600 to $1,000 per year. He also indicated Revision Energy would submit a bid.