Current Projects

REDA Solar for Businesses and Farms
Solar array at Beech Hill Farm in Mt. Desert.Solar array at Beech Hill Farm in Mt. Desert.

The REDA Solar for Businesses and Farms (SBF) program provides small businesses and agriculture producers across Hancock County with free solar energy assessments and energy efficiency education. Between 2016 and 2020, the Community Energy Center will provide 50  local farms and businesses with informational reports regarding how installing solar at their farm or business can help reduce their electricity costs. Now in its second round, the SBF program is funded by $125,000 in grant funding from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Renewable Energy Development  Assistance (REDA) program.

Sustainability Data Collection

Ever wonder how groups like the Princeton Review and Sierra Magazine rank green colleges like COA? Every year, CEC staff and work-study students collect annual data on COA’s energy, water, food, waste, and resource use in order to measure progress towards the College’s sustainability and energy goals. This data then fed into the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE)’s reporting platform, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System (STARS). 

Fossil Free Campus Initiative

In 2017, COA adopted an updated version of our Energy Framework, committing the college to creating a fossil-fuel free campus by 2030. Along with the Campus Committee for Sustainability, the CEC spearheads work towards achieving our Energy Framework goals, including reducing college greenhouse gas emissions, decreasing on-campus energy consumption, installing renewable energy systems, and engaging the COA community on energy and sustainability issues. 

Past Projects

MDI Community Solar

Students install rooftop solar photovoltaic panels at COA as part of the 2011 Practicum in Renewa...Students install rooftop solar photovoltaic panels at COA as part of the 2011 Practicum in Renewable Energy course.The MDI Community Solar project was an initiative to research the feasibility of 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 worked to identify potential community solar sites across MDI through site research, solar potential analysis, outreach to customers, landowners, easement holders, and local utilities, and the development of affordable financing options. 

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 (PV+EV) project aimed to demonstrate the viability of using PV (photovoltaic solar panels), EV (electric vehicle) charging, and electricity storage to help create a carbon-free transportation system for a rural island community. The goal of the project was to demonstrate the viability of electric vehicle transportation and improve electric vehicle infrastructure across MDI and beyond through the creation of solar EV charging stations, and partnering with local businesses and nonprofits to transport passengers and 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 worked with year-round residents to insulate their homes and replace outdated heating systems with efficient, renewable energy alternatives in order to save residents money on household energy costs. Through collaborative buying, participants in the project were able to take advantage of low-cost home energy audits, insulation upgrades, and heating system installations. Three rounds of six group energy audits were 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.