KNOX — ReVision Energy held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Oct. 9 for a new community solar farm. It is the result of over two years’ work, according to Solar Project Developer Holly Noyes. The project will be in full production Oct. 26.

It was a brisk fall morning with dozens of the solar farm’s members gathered, along with others involved with the project. A couple of ReVision officials spoke at the ceremony, and while Director of the Governor’s Energy Office Dan Burgess was not able to make the event, he issued a comment to the company.

“This project in Knox is a great example of how solar projects can provide the benefits of clean energy directly to Maine,” Burgess said in an email. “As Maine moves toward using 100 percent renewable energy, reducing the use of fossil fuels, and growing a strong clean energy industry, we applaud everyone involved in this project for showing how solar delivers direct benefits to towns, businesses, and Maine people.”

The 5,200 solar modules are expected to produce 2.365 kilowatt hours annually, according to Project Manager Brian Byrne. The project’s 214 members live around the state, from southern Maine to Belfast, all in Central Maine Power territory. A weather station at the site monitors the system’s performance, Byrne said, allowing the company to track daily site conditions.

In 2019 Maine changed its solar policy to allow for larger solar projects, Byrne said. Since then, there has been much interest from landowners in hosting solar farms and from utility customers in buying the credits, which reduce a user’s electricity bill. ReVision has been working to develop and construct solar projects for 18 years.

The project is situated on top of Knox Ridge on a sloped piece of farmland owned by farmer Peter Curra. The vegetable farmer had been interested in using some of his land for a solar panel project, he said, adding that the field used for the solar project was a little too wet to grow plants on, so it was not much of a sacrifice to dedicate it to another use.

He was approached more than two years ago by Noyes, who had known him for a long time, with the idea for the project and Curra was interested in the idea. The land is in a family farm trust, and after discussions with his three children, they were all on board with the idea. “This is a project I think really demonstrates and displays community,” Noyes said.

Holly Noyes, left, ReVision mascot Sunsquatch and Peter Curra pose for a photo Oct. 9 at the new community solar project in Knox. Courtesy of ReVision Energy

It was a long process to gain approvals from all parties involved, including Central Maine Power, Consolidated Communications, state and local departments and other organizations. There were times when Curra did not know if the project would actually come to fruition, he said. But it did and he was able to cut the ribbon at the ceremony, signifying its completion.

There were times when Curra was discouraged by the process, he said. His advice to other prospective landowners who are interested in hosting a solar project was to expect a lot of permitting and to stay positive about the process. It will happen.