Town meeting

Monroe ready for municipal solar power, awaits final terms

Voters make quick work of town business at annual meeting
By Ethan Andrews | Jun 21, 2017
Photo by: Ethan Andrews Monroe Planning Board member Rick Hill at the town's annual meeting June 19 describes a proposal from ReVision Energy of Portland to install solar panels on the roof of the Town Hall.

Monroe — Residents at the annual town meeting June 19 voiced interest in trading tax credits for enough solar panels to power all municipal buildings and facilities. But the majority wanted to see the details before signing off.

ReVision Energy of Portland has proposed installing a 52 kW solar array on the roof of the Town Hall and Community Library. Under the broad terms of the agreement, ReVision would pay for the panels and installation, then sell energy back to the town, recouping its own costs through the sales and renewable energy tax credits.

After six years, the town would have an option to buy the solar array from ReVision and continue to use it to offset the municipal electric bill.

The array would generate enough electricity to power all town facilities, including the Town Office, fire station, transfer station and street lights, according to Rick Hillman of the Monroe Planning Board, who spoke about the proposal Monday night.

The panels would feed electricity into the grid, allowing the town to offset its bill through net metering. Hillman said the system would be similar to one installed by ReVision in Lincolnville earlier this year.

Voters in attendance Monday night appeared willing to sign off on the deal, but resident Paul McCarrier noted that townspeople had not seen its final terms. He suggested, in the interest of good governance, that the town authorize selectmen to negotiate with ReVision, with the final agreement subject to voter approval at a special town meeting. The motion passed without debate.

Hillman said, regardless, the project would not happen until 2018 because ReVision could not benefit from the tax credits this year.

Selectman Tyler Demere, Planning Board members Rick Hillman and Seth Yentes, Fire Chief Ken Clements and Assessor Lynda Oliver were re-elected in uncontested races.

New officers included Vicky Depersiis to the Planning Board and Kim Tinsman to the Regional School Unit 3 Board of Directors. Neither was present Monday night, but both were said to have indicated before the meeting that they were willing to take the positions.

Voters added $1,000 to the roughly $7,000 already saved for next year's bicentennial celebration. Organizers are seeking historic photos — contact Marge Sheridan, 525-4428.

Fisher and Jackson roads are on the docket for road construction last year. Voters approved taking $100,000 from new taxes and $200,000 from surplus for those roads.

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