AP NEWS

State to review bid for solar panels at governor’s mansion

March 5, 2019

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Plans to install solar panels at the Maine governor’s mansion moved forward Tuesday as the state said it has received one bid.

John Spier, a procurement analyst with the Maine Bureau of Business Management, said that a team of state workers will now begin reviewing Maine-based solar company ReVision Energy’s bid to see whether it meets state standards. Several companies initially expressed interest in installing the solar panels through the state’s competitive bidding process.

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills announced the plans to put solar panels on the governor’s residence in her inaugural address, and hopes to complete the installation this year in a demonstration of her commitment to renewable energy.

It’s a marked shift from her predecessor, former Republican Gov. Paul LePage, who often criticized subsidies for solar power.

Mills’ administration expects the solar panels to be “self-funding” and reduce the Blaine House’s electric bill, which was $11,292 last year. The state in January publicly began seeking competitive bids to design and install a photovoltaic system that would supply 50 percent of the Blaine House’s electricity needs.

Her administration said it’s seeking a “cost-efficient” proposal for a contract expected to start this April through 2024. The state is looking for bidders with a three-year track record of at least $100,000 worth of solar photovoltaic work in Maine.

Co-founder Fortunat Mueller said ReVision Energy is “eager” to see the process move forward.

“Whether we build that project or not, we think it will be great to have a visible symbol of the state’s re-commitment to clean energy and local economic development right there at the executive residence and in plain view of the statehouse,” Mueller said in an email.

The Associated Press’ review of state campaign finance records show individual employees of Revision Energy report donating a total $1,700 to support Mills’ governor campaign, and another $100 to her transition committee.

Mueller said ReVision itself doesn’t back individual candidates, and instead focuses on promoting clean energy. But, he said, the company is “proud” of employees’ civic engagement.