Project rendering of the Queens rooftop project by Wildflower, LTD.
In March, solar developer UGE reached the Notice to Proceed milestone for six new community solar projects across Maine, New York and Maryland. In total, these six projects will add 10 MW of distributed solar to the grid.
Among the six projects being prepared for construction are the largest rooftop solar project in Maine, UGE’s first project in Maryland and UGE’s second brownfield solar redevelopment project. All projects will be owned and operated by UGE.
Maine will soon have its largest rooftop community solar project, to be built at Foxcroft Academy, an independent high school in Dover-Foxcroft. Foxcroft Academy and the neighboring school district will off-ake the energy produced by the project, providing both with meaningful electricity cost savings over the next 20 years.
“An appreciation for the natural environment is a core value of the Foxcroft Academy community,” said Arnold Shorey, head of school. “We are proud to be playing a part in Maine’s transition to clean, renewable energy while offsetting both the financial and environmental costs of our school’s energy consumption.”
Two other projects in Maine will begin construction in the coming months: UGE’s second brownfield solar redevelopment project, a 2.7-MW ground-mount to be built atop a former concrete fabrication and storage site; and UGE’s largest community solar project to date, a 2.9-MW ground-mount to be built just down the road in Bangor, Maine. All energy produced by the projects will be used by local residents who will save on electricity costs while supporting Maine’s transition to clean, renewable energy.
UGE will soon break ground on its first project in Maryland, a 2.7-MW ground-mount community solar farm in Oakland.
The project will be built at Lucas Landscaping and Turf Farm, which has been in business since 1980 and is the largest sod grower in Western Maryland. The solar project will occupy 20 acres of the 160-acre farm, which will continue operating.
“We are pleased to be diversifying our business, adding a solar farm to our existing turf farm,” said Adam Lucas, owner of Lucas Landscaping. “In addition to generating additional revenue for Lucas Landscaping, we are pleased that the solar farm will provide clean and affordable renewable energy to the Oakland community.”
The Lucas community solar project will join UGE’s Low-to-Moderate Income (LMI) program, meaning that at least 30% of the energy generated by the project will be reserved for LMI households. Strengthening renewable energy equity is one of UGE’s guiding goals, with a stated target for more than 25% of the offtake from UGE’s operational portfolio to serve LMI households by 2026.
In New York, two new rooftop projects will be joining UGE’s operating portfolio, a 457-kW project in Peekskill, and a 375-kW project in Queens.
The Peekskill project, which has already begun construction, is atop Spare Cube, a self-storage facility. The Queens project will be built atop a modern warehouse under construction near John F. Kennedy International Airport that is owned and developed by New York City-based real estate developer Wildflower Ltd. This will be UGE’s sixth solar project completed with Wildflower, with another three currently under development.
“Our long-term partnership with UGE supports Wildflower’s mission to create innovative, sustainable and socially beneficial physical infrastructure in New York City,” said Adam Gordon, managing partner of Wildflower. “We are pleased to be bringing yet another community solar project to life with UGE.”
As part of an ongoing partnership announced in November 2021, wireless provider T-Mobile will serve as the anchor energy off-taker for both projects, supporting T-Mobile’s commitment to power its business using 100% renewable energy. UGE will reserve 50% of the project’s energy output for low- to moderate-income subscribers, offering these households and businesses upwards of 10% savings on their electricity costs.
News item from UGE