The town of Cape Elizabeth is moving ahead with a solar project on its capped landfill that will generate $2.1 million in electricity savings and income over the next 20 years, said Town Manager Matt Sturgis.

The Town Council has authorized Sturgis to sign a lease option and energy credit agreements with Encore Renewable Energy of Burlington, Vermont, one of seven firms that submitted competitive bids for the project.

The 7-acre solar farm is being reviewed by the Planning Board and is on track to be installed next summer on the former landfill near the town’s recycling center, Sturgis said.

Cape Elizabeth is one of a fast-growing number of Maine municipalities that have developed similar solar farms, including Portland, South Portland, Belfast, Tremont, Waldoboro and Waterville.

The solar panels are expected to capture enough energy to offset 75 to 80 percent of municipal and school energy costs, Sturgis said. Under the lease agreement, Encore will pay the town $7,000 per year to occupy the former landfill space.

The town’s annual savings and income from the solar project will increase over time, from about $83,000 in the first year to about $128,900 in the final year of the contracts, Sturgis said.

The council also authorized Sturgis to apply for an Efficiency Maine grant that would pay 80 percent of the cost for two electric vehicle charging stations. Both the solar farm and the charging stations address council and comprehensive plan goals to move toward a more sustainable community.

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