CS Energy was contracted by Navisun to provide turnkey engineering, procurement and construction services for the first-of-its-kind agrivoltaic, or dual land use, project on an operating blueberry farm in Maine.
CS Energy worked closely with experts at the University of Maine to develop a value engineered design for this 4.2 MW project to ensure minimal impact of the solar installation on blueberry growth using the most cost effective and responsible methods. CS Energy’s in-house construction and engineering teams meticulously designed and managed three control areas – extremely cautious construction, moderately cautious construction, and standard construction – within a 5-acre site to mitigate damage to, and maintain productivity of, underlying blueberry bushes.
The University of Maine has begun measuring factors such as soil quality and moisture in each of these areas to determine the outcomes of each approach on blueberry productivity. According to the university, the blueberries are recovering better than expected where panels were installed with the most precautions taken to protect the blueberry. The official findings from this project will be published in 2022 to enable interested parties to decipher the most cost effective and efficient ways to co-locate solar energy systems on agricultural sites, particularly blueberry sites.
This project is a stellar example of how a space previously thought to be untenable for solar, such as a blueberry farm, can be converted into a productive clean energy generating field while simultaneously maintaining and growing local economies. It will produce 5.7 million kWh of clean electricity annually, enough energy to power nearly 500 homes annually.
The Maces Pond project was named 2021 Utility-Scale project of the Year by Solar Builder Magazine.