A 76.5-megawatt solar farm in Farmington, Maine, the largest in New England to date, is now online.

Juno Beach, Florida-headquartered energy company NextEra financed and developed the $110 million solar farm. Farmington Solar LLC is a subsidiary of NextEra.

The 300,000-panel solar farm sits on 500 acres of leased land on Route 2 in the town of Farmington. The land belongs to a dairy farmer, who, according to the Farmington Solar website, “lost his milk buyer, and has had to downsize his herd considerably. By leasing his land to the Farmington Solar Project, [the farmer] will be able to make up much of that lost income, putting his family in a much improved financial situation.”

The project will net the town about $20 million in taxes during the course of the 30-year agreement. The panels are expected to last between 25 and 40 years.

Video: Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

The New England College Renewable Partnership (NECRP) – Smith, Amherst, Williams, Hampshire, Bowdoin – and New England utility companies are buying the power, which is the equivalent of powering around 17,000 homes. Maine is part of the New England grid. The NECRP states:

This agreement is the first ever example of a collaborative purchase of solar energy in New England Higher Education, and one of the first such collaborations in the United States.

Among other reasons, the NECRP says that the purchase of power from Farmington moves each of the five campuses closer to their climate-action goals, helps each school manage costs by “locking in” the price of electricity for the next 20 years, and provides educational opportunities for students at the colleges​​.

All five colleges are aiming to reach net zero by 2030.

Read more: Maine governor permanently bans offshore wind in state waters

Photo: Bowdoin College


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