AUGUSTA – Governor Janet Mills held a celebration this week to unveil the new Blaine House solar panel installation she championed as she took office in January. According to a report from Maine Public and the official statement from Governor Janet Mils the cost of the installation is about $63,000 and the annual savings are unlikely to recoup the cost of the project.
sense of what this project will do, Maine Examiner has broken down the numbers for
The project installed 61 solar panels at the Blaine House at a cost of about $63,000 according to Governor Janet Mills. The project was put out to bid through the State of Maine’s RFP process through the Department of Administrative and Financial Services. (RFP: 201901005 “Photovoltaic (PV) Solar Installation at Blaine House” in the state RFP Archives)
office says the project costs $63,000 and will reduce the mansion’s electricity
bill – roughly $11,000 last year – by about 25 percent in the first year.”
Janet Mills’ official
statement says the savings will only be about $1,578 in the first year.
solar project, installed by the Maine-based company ReVision Energy, is
estimated to serve 25 percent of the Blaine House’s electricity needs and save
$1,578 in electricity costs within the first year,” says the statement from
the savings according to the statement Governor Mills provided Maine Public,
the yearly savings on the $63,000 expenditure is about $2,750 versus the $1,578
in the first year Mills claimed in her official statement.
higher savings estimate of $2,750 per year, it will take about 23 years for the
savings to cover the cost of the solar installation.
At the lower
savings estimate in Mills’ official statement, it would take about 40 years for
the savings to cover the cost of the solar installation.
RFP entry in the state database says the next anticipated RFP release for this project
is 2038. That timeline is consistent with published estimates from multiple
sources that photo voltaic panels typically have a useful life span of about 20
years, losing about 1% efficiency per year.
Based on the
cost of the project, estimated savings and timeline for replacement, it appears
that the solar panels will be replaced well before they pay for themselves or
provide any savings to Maine taxpayers.
Using the more
aggressive savings estimate Governor Mills provided to Maine Public, the
replacement in 2038 will come five years before the 2043 break-even point.
less aggressive savings estimate provided by Governor Mills in her official
statement, the replacement in 2038 will come twenty-one years before the 2059
aside the financials, Governor Mills focused on the reduction in carbon emissions
the solar panels represent. Mills said in her official statement that the solar
panels will “offset roughly 28,000 pounds of carbon emissions, the equivalent
to 2.3 million smartphone charges a year or 43 barrels of oil.”
Mills has also
empaneled a “climate council” with the goal of making Maine carbon neutral and fighting
“climate change” as well as installing electric vehicle charging stations
A Maine Examiner report in October showed that the Mills administration had yet to complete a so-called “carbon budget” to determine where Maine stand on carbon emissions, despite official data suggesting the state may have become carbon neutral during the LePage administration.