BAR HARBOR — Solarize MDI, a project of A Climate to Thrive, has doubled the island’s solar power generation in less than a year and become the most successful of similar Solarize campaigns around the state.
Fifty new solar projects have been installed, 13 are scheduled to be installed by the end of the year, and 13 more are planned for early 2018. Over 640 kilowatts of solar already have been or are soon to be installed.
“The success of Solarize was due to the community of environmentally aware people on MDI willing to make an investment in solar now to help create a better future for their kids and grandchildren,” said Joe Blotnick of A Climate to Thrive.
Launched in April, residents and businesses in the towns of Mount Desert, Bar Harbor, Tremont and Southwest Harbor participated in the group purchasing program aimed at reducing installation costs for grid-tied solar electric installations.
“We’ve doubled solar capacity on the island,” said Gary Friedmann, chair of A Climate to Thrive, “and we intend to double that again in 2018 and again in 2019. It will take 72 megawatts of solar to power our island’s energy needs, and we are on our way to achieve our organization’s mission: energy independence for MDI by 2030.”
“With electric rates going up by an average of 5 percent in 2018, solar economics are looking advantageous as we plan ahead for the new year,” said Jennifer Albee of ReVision Energy, the solar contractor responsible for designing and installing solar systems. “In addition to net-energy billing, which allows for kilowatt-hour credit accrual with Emera Maine, solar means long-term locked-in energy savings with an average return on investment of 7-10 percent, all while reducing carbon pollution.”
In January, homeowners also will be able to sign up for Weatherize MDI, a program offering bulk discounts on energy assessment, air sealing and insulation projects to make buildings more energy efficient while taking advantage of rebates from Efficiency Maine.
Further discussions regarding solar on Mount Desert Island, including a presentation from Josh Castonguay, chief innovation executive at Vermont’s Green Mountain Power, will kick off ACTT’s community gathering at MDI High School on Sunday, Jan. 28. Green Mountain Power is a national leader in empowering customers to increase energy independence and reduce carbon emissions with solar and storage solutions.