A new 31-acre community solar farm on Saddleback Mountain Ski Resort’s property, owned by Arctaris Impact Investors, will generate 7.36 MW of clean energy and will be constructed by Nexamp. The solar project will offset more than 14 million pounds of carbon annually while reducing Saddleback’s energy costs and adding new operational revenue through a long-term lease agreement.
In 2020, Arctaris, an Impact Investment group that purchased Saddleback Mountain, made substantial improvements to the mountain and helped restore business as a major employer and destination in the region. Among other improvements, Arctaris has installed a new detachable quad chairlift, a new high-speed T-Bar, two new surface lifts, new snowmaking equipment, a new groomer fleet, and a renovated base lodge. New construction is underway for a mountain restaurant-lodge.
When exploring ways of strengthening Saddleback’s economics and environmental profile, Arctaris found that solar development would be a good way to achieve that. Saddleback led the development effort which included site selection, permitting, and obtaining an interconnection agreement with Central Maine Power. Saddleback is now partnering with Nexamp, which will construct and operate the solar farm.
“Saddleback has a long history in Maine as a family destination that has provided important economic, employment and recreational opportunities in western Maine,” said Jonathan Tower, Founder and Managing Partner of Arctaris. “We are committed to positioning Saddleback for long-term sustainability, both economic and environmental. With this project, Arctaris is significantly advancing both of those goals.”
Under Maine’s Net Energy Billing program, which the Mills administration enacted in 2019, the project will generate clean energy that will be sent directly to the Central Maine Power (CMP) grid, providing credits to help reduce subscribers’ annual electric bills. As the host of the solar farm, Saddleback will benefit directly as an anchor tenant for the generated bill credits. Other businesses in CMP territory are able to enroll in Nexamp’s program for energy savings as well.
Saddleback was careful in selecting the location for the solar farm, a site that comprises less than one percent of Saddleback’s real estate. “As stewards of a remarkable piece of western Maine real estate, it was very important to us to fit this renewable energy project in harmoniously with its surrounding natural beauty,” said Tom Federle, Saddleback’s General Counsel who led the development of the project. “Our Mountain Operations Director, Jared Emerson, who knows every inch of the Saddleback property, was the one who found the perfect site.”
“The Saddleback project is representative of the very real benefits available to businesses in proactively addressing the climate challenge,” said John Murphy, Nexamp Senior Vice President of Corporate Development. “In pursuing this initiative, the resort is helping to achieve Maine’s ambitious renewable deployment and decarbonization goals while controlling operating costs and generating meaningful revenue for additional capital improvements. We’re thrilled to partner with the Arctaris team to help make their vision a reality for the Saddleback community.”
Construction on the solar farm is expected to begin in early 2022 and is on track to be generating clean energy for the CMP grid by the start of the 2022-23 ski season. Additional capacity remains on Nexamp projects across multiple markets and utility service territories.
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