OAKLAND — A developer purchased four lots at the FirstPark business park adjacent to Interstate 95 and intends to build a solar array with more than 6,000 solar panels.

The lots were sold to Oakland FirstPark Solar LLC for nearly $500,000 and the company intends to provide electricity for use by both residential and commercial customers. The array will generate enough electricity to power more than 200 homes.

The land on which the panels will be constructed extends north of the business park and is adjacent to the west side of I-95. It’s located immediately north of T-Mobile’s call center at 133 FirstPark Drive.

The lots were previously owned for more than 20 years by the Kennebec Regional Development Authority, a public entity not required to pay taxes on the land, according to James Dinkle, the executive director of FirstPark.

“The greatest benefit to the town of Oakland and the residents of central Maine is that they took four lots totaling 33 acres and put them on the property tax roll,” Dinkle said.

The Kennebec Regional Development Authority owns FirstPark, and he said the taxes that now will be paid on the lots will generate revenue for Oakland and 23 other communities that make up the authority.


“The other benefit is that we’ve recruited a business that pays property taxes, but also does not create odor and does not create noise and is a green energy environmentally friendly business,” Dinkle said.

The sale closed April 27 and FirstPark announced the purchase last week. Construction of the solar array is scheduled to begin in April.

Christian Loranger, the principal for Oakland FirstPark Solar, did not respond to a request for comment.

The solar project is just the latest to be announced in central Maine over the last year. The proliferation of such projects has led several towns in the region — Belgrade, Norridgewock and Rome among them — to adopt temporary moratoriums so that town officials have time to create regulations guiding how the arrays are built and where.

Dinkle, who previously was involved in economic development efforts in Illinois, said he sees plenty of room for continued growth for the solar industry in Maine and beyond.

“I don’t think the solar industry has reached the peak of its absorption rate,” he said, later adding, “If we do what we can to promote alternative energy, like solar energy, that will hopefully someday reduce the cost of household electricity.”


Oakland Town Manager Ella Bowman said that more people are coming to central Maine and the latest project at FirstPark is a reflection of economic growth in the region.

“The whole region is doing well, and I think FirstPark is finally starting to take hold,” Bowman said. “I think that growth has finally come to central Maine. There’s a lot of interest from across the country.”

She said the T-Mobile call center “made FirstPark viable.”

“Without T-Mobile, we wouldn’t be looking at 800 jobs or so in the region,” Bowman said. “It’s been successful ever since T-Mobile walked through the door. It’s only onwards and upwards from here.”

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