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Cianbro Completes Madison Electric’s Solar Array – The Largest Solar Installation in Maine

Oct 11 2017

The largest solar array in the state of Maine is now fully operational at the Madison Business Gateway. 

Madison Electric Works (MEW) is a municipality-owned utility in Madison, Maine that serves 2,500 residential, commercial and industrial customers located in Madison and three neighboring towns. MEW contracted with IGS Solar, a turn-key commercial and residential solar provider, in an effort to help the utility integrate solar energy while helping to better control long-term energy costs for their customers. IGS Solar financed, and will own and operate the system. MEW will purchase 100% of the power generated through a long-term Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with IGS Solar, which will allow them to utilize on-site generated renewable electricity. 

The system is built on 20+ acres of land, utilizes 16,074 330W panels, and is sized at 4.6MW (AC) which is large enough to power roughly 700 homes. The array meets approximately 20% of MEW's annual needs. Advanced Solar Products designed and managed the installation while sub-contracting with Cianbro. The project was originally developed by Clear Energy, which was then secured by IGS Solar through a public bid process.

According to Calvin Ames, general manager of MEW, the project has met all of their objectives. "It was a priority for us to enlist Maine-based companies where possible, which meant nearly all of the labor involved in the installation was performed by highly skilled individuals living right here in the Pine Tree State. Completion of this solar array allows MEW to continue to contain costs for our residential, commercial, and industrial customers, while also using renewable energy. It's a win-win," he said.

MEW will have the opportunity to purchase the system before the end of the 25-year PPA term, if desired.

According to Patrick Smith, vice president of IGS Solar, this is the first project the solar provider has completed in the state. "Opportunities for solar in Maine continue to grow. Working with MEW and the local team to help control area customers' energy costs using this renewable energy source has been a great success. We look forward to being a long-standing sustainability partner to MEW well into the future."



Cianbro Chairman and CEO Pete Vigue’s Remarks at Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony

“You’ve proved that you can be successful, create jobs and opportunity and even manage the electrical rates in a very efficient manner that will benefit the people in this area – your service area. If you stop and think about some of the decisions that this organization has made:  What small public utility, municipal utility, could lead the development of an industrial park? Think about it. It’s here. And that was visionary. Yet, this project that we celebrate today is another visionary move. It should be a model for others to follow – other parts of the state that have the same economic challenges. 

“The facts are that this state has to look into the future, and stop looking at re-creating the past. None of us like change. We don’t want to look at things a little differently than we have in the past because we’re comfortable with what we have. But the facts are: It takes people and individuals to set the example, create the opportunities, and look into the future. And this is probably the best example of that in a community that is economically challenged. 

“Who would have dreamed that Madison Paper would no longer be here after it was created in the early 1980s?  Who could have even planned or thought of it?  Sometimes, those examples have to take place to wake us up, to get us to look at the world in a different way, to work together in a collaborative manner within the community, within the state, and put something together that will advance us to another generation. That’s what we celebrate. The whole fact of the matter is – it isn’t about one individual, or one board, or one community. It’s about all of us. That’s why it’s so important to use this project as an example of what the future might offer and bring to us as a state and as a community.” 

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