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.

Summer Energy Fellows

Summer Energy Fellows spend 10 weeks working in the Community Energy Center on various energy projects, and often earn internship credit for their work. This program is designed to give advanced students an opportunity to work with community members on a wide variety of local energy projects. Fellows have worked with community members to determine the feasibility of community solar arrays, electric vehicle charging infrastructure paired with photovoltaics, and have performed numerous free solar analyses for local small businesses and farms as part of our flagship Solar for Businesses and Farms program.

Summer Energy Fellows 2016

Laura Berry 2016 Summer Energy FellowLaura Berry
2016 Summer Energy Fellow

Spencer Gray 2016 Summer Energy FellowSpencer Gray
2016 Summer Energy Fellow

Summer Energy Fellows 2017

Margherita Tommasini2017 Summer Energy FellowMargherita Tommasini
2017 Summer Energy Fellow

Jonathan Harmor2017 Summer Energy FellowJonathan Harmor
2017 Summer Energy Fellow