Launched in 2016, the Community EnergyGround-mounted solar panels at Beech Hill Farm in Mount Desert installed as part of the COA Practicum in Renewable Energy course.Ground-mounted solar panels at Beech Hill Farm in Mount Desert installed as part of the COA Practicum in Renewable Energy course.
Center (CEC) builds on existing sustainability and renewable energy efforts on Mount Desert Island to research, develop, and implement innovative projects that enable people and business owners to reap the financial and social benefits of transitioning away from fossil fuels. 

A primary objective of the CEC – and a key to its theory of change - is to foster collaboration among divergent elements of a community in support of sustainability. Working within its local community, the center builds on existing COA sustainability efforts that engage faculty, staff and students in active partnership with the community.

Year-round student engagement with local renewable energy projects is fostered through the annual Summer Energy Fellowship program, which employs two COA students to support the work of the CEC and actively work within the MDI community. From Dr. Anna Demeo, Director of Energy Education and Management at COA , the CEC is “creating an abundance of learning opportunities for our students that will enable them to engage in real world energy and efficiency projects - in the community and beyond - and gain invaluable experiences while doing so.”

Our Funding

The work of the CEC, including the Summer Energy Fellowship program, is currently funded by grants from the Henry David Thoreau Foundation and the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Energy for America (REAP)/Renewable Energy Development Assistance (REDA) program. The Thoreau Foundation seed-funds visionary programs at U.S. undergraduate institutions that foster environmental leadership and engaged scholarship, and the USDA REAP/REDA program aims to increase American energy independence by increasing the private sector supply of renewable energy and decreasing the demand for energy through energy efficiency improvements, helping to help lower energy costs for small businesses and agricultural producers.