Solar Businesses and Farms (SBF)
Solar array at Beech Hill Farm in Mt. Desert.Solar array at Beech Hill Farm in Mt. Desert.

The Solar for Businesses and Farms (SBF) energy audit program is designed to provide 30 or more Hancock County businesses and agriculture producers with solar energy assessments and energy efficiency education. Through the SBF, the Community Energy Center and College of the Atlantic  will provide 30 or more local farms and businesses with solar energy assessments and in-depth information on funding mechanisms. Funded initially by a $65,000 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Energy for America Program, outreach for the SBF begins Summer 2016.                        

MDI Community Solar

Students install rooftop solar photovoltaic panels at COA as part of the 2011 Practicum in Renewable Energy course.Students install rooftop solar photovoltaic panels at COA as part of the 2011 Practicum in Renewable Energy course.The MDI Community Solar project is an ongoing initiative to establish community-owned solar arrays on MDI for area residents interested in solar electricity for their home or business, but who are unable to install individual solar arrays. Based on feasibility analysis conducted by COA students in 2014-15, the CEC is currently working to implement community solar across MDI through site research, solar potential analysis, outreach to customers, landowners, easement holders, and local utilities, and the development of affordable financing options. Current potential community solar sites include locations in Mount Desert, Trenton, and Southwest Harbor. 

Solar charging and electric vehicles (PV + EV)

 Solar-powered, community-owned EV charging stations on Samsø, Denmark.Solar-powered, community-owned EV charging stations on Samsø, Denmark.The Mount Desert Island Solar Charged EV Demonstration aims to demonstrate the viability of using PV+EV and electricity storage to help create a carbon-free transportation system for a rural island community. The goal of the project is to improve electric vehicle transportation and connectivity across MDI by creating an infrastructure network of solar electric vehicle charging stations and electricity storage and partnering with local businesses and nonprofits to help transport passengers or goods on short-distance trips using electric vehicles.                                                       

Home energy audits and air sealing

Examining a Maine homeowner's basement insulation during an energy audit.Examining a Maine homeowner's basement insulation during an energy audit.The Home Energy Audits and Air Sealing project works with a segment of the MDI year-round population to insulate their homes and replace their heating systems with efficient, renewable energy alternatives in order to save money on household energy costs. Through collaborative buying, participants in the project are able to take advantage of low-cost home energy audits, insulation upgrades, and heating system installations.  To date, three rounds of six group energy audits have been conducted, facilitated by COA students working on this initiative through the Fall 2014 Samsø “Monster” course, independent studies, and the Spring 2015 Physics and Math of Sustainable Energy course.