Nestlé Waters North America recently announced its intention to construct a 10-megawatt AC (12.97-megawatt DC) renewable energy project at its Poland Spring bottling plant in Hollis, Maine. This proposed solar energy installation, currently in the permit application process, will supply enough clean electricity to meet approximately 20-25% of the current energy needs of the facility. Once completed, the proposed solar project would occupy 47 acres of land, making it one of the largest contiguous solar arrays in Maine.
How much will the installation of this solar project cost Poland Spring?
The estimated construction cost is $16.5 million.
Will Maine construction companies be used to build this solar array?
Our intention is to use Maine-based labor for as much of the project as possible. The civil engineers we hired to shepherd this project, Sevee & Maher, are based in Cumberland, Maine. Local consultants have been used for hydrogeological, wetland delineation and surveying. We will make our best effort to use Maine-based builders.
Will the project result in any change in employment at the Hollis bottling facility?
The project developer will own all operations and maintenance of the solar energy production. This project will not impact Poland Spring's factory employment.
When are you expected to break ground on the project and how long will it take to complete?
We will break ground once the project is fully permitted by the Town of Hollis and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. We anticipate that will be by April 2021
Will the project affect the cost of electricity for other customers in Hollis?
No, this new clean energy source will be “behind the meter” and supply electricity only to our Hollis bottling plant.
Will the taxpayers see a rise in their tax rates? Will there be another TIF?
No, this will not cause taxes to rise. The solar project will not have any impact on the existing TIF and Poland Spring has no plans to propose another TIF.
How many trees will be impacted by this project?
Approximately 36 acres of tree cutting will occur to execute this project. The solar project is sited to avoid the pitch pine that have been planted since development of the bottling plant and the buffers along Killick Pond and Killick Pond Brook will be maintained. We are actively coordinating with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and local agencies to ensure the siting selection will not adversely offset the positive impact of the project.
What are the positive environmental impacts of this solar project?
This is 10-megawatt capacity solar energy project. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator, the annual greenhouse gas emission reductions resulting from this project will be the equivalent to taking more than 2,500 passenger vehicles of the road annually.
Would this project increase truck traffic in Hollis?
We do not anticipate any additional truck traffic as a result of these projects.
Will a fence be installed around the array?
Yes, fencing is required around the solar array for safety and security reasons.
Will this impact the ATV trails in the area?
No, the project will not impact any existing recreational ATV trails in the area.
What impact will the project have on wetlands in the area?
The project will not impact any wetlands.
This area has abundant wildlife. What will you do to combat the disruption to their natural habitat?
We have sited the project to minimize any negative impact to local habitats. We will continue working with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection to minimize impacts to wildlife as part of this development. We will be installing a fence to minimize impact to deer. Also, as part of the development, we will be seeding the area below the array with a meadow mix that includes pollinator species to enhance habitat for bees and other pollinators.