Houlton contractor builds 200-panel solar installation to power businesses and apartments

HOULTON, Maine – Motorists driving US Route 1 through Houlton have likely noticed a large collection of recently appeared solar panels.

Led by Houlton resident Cameron Clark, the solar panels are just the latest budget venture for the young entrepreneur who started his first business while still in high school. It is also his most ambitious project to date.

A total of 200 solar panels have been erected next to the Maine State Police Station, where Clark’s lawn grooming business – Cam’s Lawn and Landscaping LLC – is established. The project was a labor of love for Clark, who is passionate about saving the environment.

Solar projects of varying sizes are being erected all over Maine, but most of them tie into the New England power grid. Clark’s facility is strictly intended to supply its businesses, including its rental apartments.

“I believe in the transition to sustainable energy, and on the business side this project will fix my utility costs for 25 to 30 years, which is very comforting for me as a business owner knowing that the cost of my electricity will never increase, “said Clark.” The solar panel that was installed on my North Street property provides 100% clean energy to the residential buildings I currently own in Houlton. ”

Son of Jayne and Bruce Clark, Cameron made his first foray into business when he started his lawn grooming business while still in high school. He also proved to be a handyman with power tools, making picnic tables and then began carving wood with a chainsaw as Cam’s Chainsaw Carving.

In 2016, he graduated from Houlton Middle-High School and focused on pursuing business studies at Husson University. In 2018, Clark received the very first “Young Professional Award of the Grand Houlton Chamber of Commerce for his efforts.

By the time he graduated from college in 2020 with a business administration degree, Clark was already on track to establish himself as one of the city’s up-and-coming businessmen as his grooming business in lawn grew to include all forms of landscaping and construction, with a team of several employees. He also purchased several apartment buildings in the greater Houlton area.

Reducing his carbon footprint is the project that fascinates him the most.

“My personal car is a fully electric vehicle and there will be some in my businesses very soon, so having a power generation facility at my site seemed like the right thing to do,” he said. “The energy from this solar panel also powers some of Houlton’s first carbon neutral apartments when accompanied by electric heat or heat pumps and it’s something I’m proud to offer. “

Installed by Pine Tree Solar, the energy created by its panels is acquired by Houlton Water Company under a net energy metering agreement. HWC absorbs energy directly from the solar panel and then credits that energy to it on its utility bills.

“The grid should produce enough power to cover 100% of the demand from all of my apartment buildings in Houlton, but I plan to complete another project to allow future expansion of the real estate sector,” he said. declared. “My tenants are happy to know that 100% of their electricity is clean and they can actually see where it is being generated when they visit the grid. My business uses all the energy generated and none is sold to buyers. ”

The panels should have a lifespan of 25 to 30 years, with work or replacement of the inverter being the only maintenance.

“With that kind of living space, it was easy to calculate that this was a good business decision,” Clark said. “Recently, there has been a sharp increase in the price of energy from other Maine utilities, causing costs to increase for customers. While such an increase is unlikely to happen in the Houlton Water Company utility district, should it ever happen, my tenants would be protected from any increase in costs.