RSU 9 solar project breaks ground next week

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FARMINGTON – The RSU 9 board convened Tuesday night to discuss labor contracts in executive session and to listen to public presentations.

The board heard first from Kurt Penney of ReVision Energy who gave an update on the solar array project that RSU 9 signed onto back in 2019. The project has encountered a number of delays, but construction is scheduled to begin next week.

‘We are planning to have the shovel in the ground one week from today,” said Penney.

The contract for the project was signed at the end of 2019 and though the project hasn’t started yet, the agreed rate of the contract which is based on 2019 numbers will still be in place and will be for the next twenty years.

“The deal you signed no longer exists, the development costs have risen,” said Penney.

Board member Doug Dunlap would like to see a way for students to be exposed to the project which is based in Livermore Falls. He would like to see opportunities for RSU 9 and Foster Tech students to get involved or interested in solar career paths.

“Obviously the world is moving ahead in this direction and I think of our students at Mt. Blue High School and Foster Tech Center and I would welcome some thought given to whether there could be some exposure to careers in solar generated energy,” said Dunlap.

Board Member, Jeff Harris voiced some concerns regarding the length of the contract.

Penney responded by citing the common practice of this type of contract and the benefits it brings.

“Every major corporation from Bath Iron Works to large grocery store chains, to every municipality across the state has signed on these net energy billing credits,” said Penney. “You have locked into a fixed rate for electricity and will enjoy any future delta between your known fixed rate and the future cost of energy.”

Penney hopes to see the project completed by the end of 2021.

The board also heard from Mt. Blue Athletic Director, Chad Brackett and Mt. Blue Middle School Principal, James Black who proposed starting a Mt. Blue High School Sports Hall of Fame.

The Inductees would be selected by a committee consisting of current teachers, the MBHS athletic director, executive board members, and community members/alumni.

“The candidates would be athletes, coaches, entire teams of distinction or people who have contributed to Mt. Blue athletics in the past. The selection committee would be eight adults at minimum and one current student athlete” said Brackett.

Honors can be awarded posthumously, and may be nominated by, Alumni, community members, the Selection Committee, School faculty and staff.
Inductees will be presented with a plaque and will receive a nameplate on the Hall of Fame board located in the MBHS gymnasium.

Brackett and Black are hoping to secure funding for this project from local businesses and community members.

“With other schools we’ve been part of there’s been a lot of sources of funding from local businesses…Skowhegan has a well established hall of fame and that’ how they work it, with donations from businesses and community members,” said Black.

The board voted unanimously to approve the creation of the Hall of Fame and the guidelines presented.

The board also voted to unanimously to approve of the new ACAB – Harassment and Sexual Harassment of school Employess policy as well as the ACAB-R – Employee Discrimination/Harassment and Title IX Sexual Harassment Complaint Procedures policy.

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