Saddleback Mountain Ski Resort ("Saddleback"), owned by Arctaris Impact Investors, LLC ("Arctaris"), has engaged with Nexamp for the construction of a new 31-acre community solar farm on its property that will generate 7.36 MW of clean energy. The solar project will offset more than 14 million pounds of carbon annually while reducing Saddleback's energy costs and adding new operational revenue through a long-term lease agreement.
Arctaris, an Impact Investment group that purchased Saddleback in 2020, is making substantial improvements to the mountain and helping to restore the business as a major employer and destination in the region. Among its many improvements, Arctaris has installed a new detachable quad chairlift, a new high-speed T-Bar, two additional surface lifts, new snowmaking equipment, a new groomer fleet and a renovated base lodge. A new mid-mountain restaurant-lodge is under construction.
In exploring options to strengthen the economics and environmental profile of Saddleback, Arctaris identified solar development as a sensible way to improve its approach to powering the mountain. Saddleback led the development effort which included site selection, permitting, and obtaining an interconnection agreement with Central Maine Power. Saddleback is now partnering with Nexamp, which will construct and operate the solar farm.
"Saddleback has a long history in Maine as a family destination that has provided important economic, employment and recreational opportunities in western Maine," said Jonathan Tower, Founder and Managing Partner of Arctaris. "We are committed to positioning Saddleback for long-term sustainability, both economic and environmental. With this project, Arctaris is significantly advancing both of those goals."
Under Maine's Net Energy Billing program enacted by the Mills administration in 2019, the community solar farm will generate clean energy that is sent directly to the Central Maine Power (CMP) grid, providing credits for subscribers to help reduce their annual electric expense. As the host of the solar farm, Saddleback stands to benefit directly as an anchor tenant for the bill credits generated. Other businesses in CMP territory also are able to enroll in Nexamp's program for energy savings.
Saddleback took great care in selecting the location for the solar farm, a site that comprises less than one percent of Saddleback's real estate. "As stewards of a remarkable piece of western Maine real estate, it was very important to us to fit this renewable energy project in harmoniously with its surrounding natural beauty," said Tom Federle, Saddleback's General Counsel who led the development of the project. "Our Mountain Operations Director, Jared Emerson, who knows every inch of the Saddleback property, was the one who found the perfect site."
"The Saddleback project is representative of the very real benefits available to businesses in proactively addressing the climate challenge," said John Murphy, Nexamp Senior Vice President of Corporate Development. "In pursuing this initiative, the resort is helping to achieve Maine's ambitious renewable deployment and decarbonization goals while controlling operating costs and generating meaningful revenue for additional capital improvements. We're thrilled to partner with the Arctaris team to help make their vision a reality for the Saddleback community."
Construction on the solar farm is expected to begin in early 2022 and is on track to be generating clean energy for the CMP grid by the start of the 2022-23 ski season.
Additional capacity remains on Nexamp projects across multiple markets and utility service territories. Businesses interested in learning more about the commercial offtake program should visit https://www.nexamp.com/power-purchase-agreements/.