WASHINGTON — Selectmen are proposing a moratorium on solar-power projects after a Maryland developer put forward plans for a massive solar development between the Town Office and the post office.

Details about the project are scant, but Selectman Duane Vigue said developer George Stone’s plan calls for more than 2,800 panels on 8 acres in a field along Old Union Road.

According to property records, the land is owned by a company held by Stone, of Clarksville, Md., who also owns Medomak Family Camp along Washington Pond.

Stone didn’t return a call seeking comment Tuesday, but the project could be the second-biggest of its kind in Maine, and it would loom large in Washington, a town of roughly 1,500 residents about halfway between Augusta and Rockland.

At a special town meeting Monday evening at Gibbs Library on Old Union Road, selectmen will ask residents to approve a 180-day moratorium on solar projects. Vigue said that would give the Washington Planning Board time to amend zoning and land-use ordinances to safeguard neighbors and the town against overdevelopment.

“We have absolutely no standards in the town for solar panel installations,” he said, “so I hope the public may just step back and give the Planning Board a little bit of time to set some standards before this project goes forward.”


Solar development isn’t mentioned explicitly in Washington land-use ordinances. However, existing standards, including those seeking to minimize glare, could apply to parts of the project. James Bowers, a Planning Board member, said while the board probably could consider the project under existing ordinances, a clear set of standards might make it “a heck of a lot easier.”

“If that’s what the town wants to do, I don’t think that’s a problem,” he said.

In 2013, solar energy comprised about three-tenths of 1 percent of Maine’s renewable energy portfolio, according to data from the American Council On Renewable Energy and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council. However, it has grown rapidly here in recent years, capped by a Bowdoin College project finished last year that installed 4,000 panels at four locations.

The college said the panels would provide 8 percent of the college’s electricity and that its project was seven times larger than any past solar development in Maine. That probably would make the Washington project the state’s second-biggest. Bowers said he has heard that the project could power Stone’s camp, and whatever it doesn’t use can be sold to the grid or to local businesses.

Stone is an experienced developer who has overseen solar installations in Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts and California, according to the website of Terra Verde Renewable Partners, “an independent energy advisor representing schools and other public agencies” that helps “clients reduce energy costs through planning and implementing energy conservation measures.” Stone is on Terra Verde’s board of directors.

His effort to install solar water heating systems at his Washington camp property drew the attention of North American Clean Energy, a trade journal, in 2014.


It said solar systems have been installed on the roofs of barns and other buildings at the camp, offsetting 60 percent to 70 percent of its electricity needs per year, quoting Stone as saying the effort “aligns itself with our core philosophy of sustainability.”

Dan Moscato, whose property on Liberty Road abuts the land owned by Stone, said the project wouldn’t bother him. He said even though the field is between the Town Office and post office, a few homes are nearby, and he wouldn’t mind looking at solar panels.

“It’s better than looking at swampy grass, so I don’t have a problem with that,” Moscato said.

Michael Shepherd — 370-7652

[email protected]

Twitter: @mikeshepherdme

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