General Manager Scott Joslin on one of the Pepperell Mill Campus rooftops. Photo courtesy Portland Press Herald.

Via Portland Press Herald, ReVision Energy will install the largest rooftop solar array in Maine atop the Pepperell Mill Campus buildings in the months ahead. Owner Doug Sanford began restoring and developing the former textile mill nearly 100 years after it was last in operation, and today it stands as a beacon of revitalization in Biddeford. Solar power will make Sanford’s venture even stronger.

100 years ago, Maine’s manufacturing was powered by water. Today, Maine’s abundant sunshine is the go-to energy resource. The project will greatly reduce the Mills’s dependence on imported energy from CMP, reducing energy costs (and making them predictable) while greatly reducing the environmental impact of electric use.

biddeford pepperell mills solar

Above: An engineering rendering of the nearly 1,200 solar panels to be installed on the rooftops of 3 buildings of the Pepperell Mills Campus in Biddeford. The solar array will provide nearly all electricity needs for residential units on the campus.

Every year, Maine exports $5 Billion to pay for foreign energy sources. Pepperell Mills, by going solar, ensures that more money stays in the local economy.

Sanford said he will invest up to $1 million in the project, but the final cost has not been determined. The project will pay for itself within 10 years. Sanford plans to leverage federal tax credits available for solar projects.

The 1,192-panel solar array spread over 1.5 acres of rooftop will produce 437,320 kilowatt hours of energy annually, more than enough electricity to meet the needs of the campus’s 100 residential units. The remaining electricity generated by the solar array will be allotted to the 51 new apartments currently under construction and due to come online next spring.

The array will result in annual carbon offsets of approximately 460,498 pounds per year, the equivalent of the annual greenhouse gas emissions from 40 passenger cars driven for one year or 500 barrels of oil.

Sanford said if the project works out as predicted, he plans to expand the system over more of the 12 acres of flat roofs at the complex. He also would like to partner with neighboring mill owners and create a renewable energy district.