New solar array combines farming land with renewable energy
ROCKPORT, Maine (WABI) - BlueWave Solar has covered 10 acres of wild blueberry fields in Rockport with solar panels.
The dual purpose of the land is called agrivoltaic, and it’s the first of its kind in Maine.
“In Maine, without an incentive yet, there’s potential to do this on grazing land, on a perennial crop. Ideally this is a five year time frame that we have concrete data that says you can do it this way, we can learn from this example, and replicate,” said Ian Ward, Founder of Solar Agricultural Services Inc.
The research and design were done by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.
The panels will gather more than four megawatts of electricity per year, enough to power hundreds of homes.
All the while, due to the design, farmers can continue harvesting wild blueberries on the land.
“Maine now has a requirement for 80% clean energy by 2030. So we are moving from about 40% clean energy to 80% by 2030. It’s projects like this one behind me that make that happen. These are projects that have clean energy benefits, environmental benefits, and economic benefits,” said Dan Burgess, Director for the Governor’s Energy Office.
“This project is how we actually make those goals happen. How communities and farmers and people can benefit from the work of reducing our emissions,” said Hannah Pingree, Director for the Office of Policy Innovation and the Future.
In about three weeks these panels will be fired up.
“Maine people will be watching as the solar revolution happens and we de-carbonize. And our children and grand children depend on us getting this right,” said State Representative Seth Berry.
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