Boothbay Harbor is always humming with energy at the start of any summer, but this year there is a different reason for some of the increased activity: the Boothbay Pilot Project.
The Boothbay Region electric grid serviced by Central Maine Power (CMP) is located on a peninsula and is connected to the main power supply through a single transmission line. During the busy months of summer, the electric load becomes dangerously close to the point of exceeding its capacity, especially during warmer days over 90 oF. In order to meet this future needed capacity, CMP estimates it will require $18 million to upgrade the transmission line.
GridSolar, a Portland based Solar company committed to creating a Smart Electric Grid for Maine is heading this pilot project in Boothbay Harbor.
For the next three years, they will work diligently to increase the number of non-transmission alternatives (NTAs) in the area. These NTAs will result in a load reduction in the Boothbay Harbor region, which will eliminate the need for the multi-million upgrade to the transmission line.
The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has approved this pilot project and so CMP will designate 10% of the funding originally designated to the upgrade of the transmission line to pay for these NTAs.
The alternatives will focus on distributed generation, energy conservation and demand response throughout the Boothbay Region.
With this new project in place, solar is becoming a popular and viable option because of the very short pay back period promised through this incentive.
Maine Green Building Supply provided Goggin Energy with the materials to install ET Solar AC Modules on the roof of the Flagship Inn, which will be the first solar project completed under the Boothbay Pilot Project.
These high efficiency systems are created through a working partnership between ET solar and SolarBridge Technologies. The ET Solar panel is built with a micro-inverter attached to the backside of the panel, which allows the power harnessed by the PV panel to be directly inverted into usable AC electricity. The combination of these two technologies helps to maximize the energy output of each individual solar panel. These systems connect through a Power Manager to allow the PV owners to monitor their systems through the Internet on their computers or smart phones.
The ET Solar AC Modules are able to produce 25% more energy than other PV systems and are one of the faster systems to install. There is no separate grounding or DC wires required and the AC output is safer for a rooftop PV application. The system is constantly monitored through the online program and its output is thoroughly tracked.
In addition to the new solar projects, Efficiency Maine has set up a Boothbay Transmission Alternative Pilot Program to provide funding to update lighting systems in the region.
Maine Green Performance Building Supply looks forward to the positive results of the Boothbay Pilot Project and hopes to be involved along the way! Applications for proposals are due to GridSolar by July 31st.