Although solar panels are multiplying, Maine towns start to halt their construction


A handful of native governments in Maine have begun halting enchancment of photo voltaic panel arrays As a Outcome of the installations slowly Discover your self to be the norm Inside the state.

Some 3,185 installations are in place throughout Maine, Based mostly on the Solar Energies Enterprise Affiliation. In Penobscot County, Versant Power has a raft of pfinishing requests from builders To join proposed photo voltaic tasks to the grid. It’s an industry that one energy regulationyer referred to as “booming.”

However native governments have started To Wind up to be involved Regarding the eventual prices of decommissioning the photo voltaic panels and A scarmetropolis of insurance coverage policies in place governing that course of.

Ellsworth is The latest municipality to briefly ban photo voltaic panel arrays, citing considerations about overenchancment. Dixmont voted to briefly halt permitting for Industry installations earlier this month, after discovering thOn there was no coverage in place for what to do when photo voltaic panel arrays reached The prime of their useful lives. Augusta did so in August.

As a Outcome of photo voltaic panels typically change possession a quantity of occasions all by way of their lifetime, Dixmont officers said they have been apprehensive Regarding the proprietor of the land left having to foot the invoice for decommissioning them And by no means having the means To take movement. In that case, they feared the metropolis Might be left with the invoice.

Todd Griset, an energy lawyer On the Maine agency Preti Flaherty, said panels degrade “Barely Yearly” but most of his consumers anticipate them to final for A minimal of 20 or 25 years.

“I’ve seen some provides to Exit So far as 40 years,” he said.

It’s troublesome To Search out out exact quantitys, but decommissioning photo voltaic panels Might be an costly enterprise if the proprietor chooses to take down the panels and return to extra typical strategies of producing power, Griset said, pointing to enchancment and demolition prices.

“Do You’d like to’re rolling As a lot as go house, You should take every thing down and restore it The biggest method it was earlier than usually,” he said. Solar panels Might be recycled, However it’s not carried out “on An monumental scale.”

One photo voltaic panel professional tprevious the Brewer Planning Board earlier this month that panels have a assured manufacturing of 25 years, after which they’re disposed of as widespread waste.

Whereas completely different areas collectively with Europe have “a lot stronger” recycling packages, plans for such receptacles are solely “Starting to pop up Inside the U.S.,” said Chad Allen, a enchancment supervisor at Longroad Power, which is constructing a rotating photo voltaic panel array in Brewer That is anticipated To Log on sometime in 2023.

Europe set data this summer time for producing The Most very important quantity of photo voltaic energy ever.

There are 15 U.S. corporations that immediately recycle photo voltaic panels, most of That are based Inside the west and Midwest, Based mostly on ENF Solar. Prior to now 20 years, Maine’s photo voltaic industry has gone from “tiny” to “booming,” Griset said.

David Shiny, a Dixmont selectman, said that The worth of transporting photo voltaic panels to a recycling plant factored into the metropolis’s choice to vote for A quick lived ban.

“Depfinishing on how the panels are made, there’s All Sorts of heavy metals and Numerous issues Inside there, So as that they Might Want to be dealt with as hazardous waste,” Shiny said, which carries A greater monetary burden.

However, switching out one previous panel for A mannequin new one is a a lot simpler process, Griset said, Since the infrastructure and utility joinion to The power grid Might be reused.

Maine seems to be taking this into consideration as extra panels Hook up with the grid.

In June, the state Legislature handed a regulation requiring builders To buy approval from the Division of Environmental Safety for all tasks Which are 3 or extra acres and current plans and funding for decommissioning panels.

The regulation went into influence Oct. 18, and applies to tasks for which enchancment started or possession modified after Oct. 1.

This story seems by way of a partnership with the Bangor Daily Information.


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