Owners of small businesses and farms are invited to a workshop at College of the Atlantic Oct. 25 to learn about a new program providing a free analysis of solar power and energy efficiency potentials. PHOTO COURTESY OF COA

Solar for farms, firms workshop set

BAR HARBOR — A solar power and energy efficiency workshop for owners of small businesses and farms is scheduled for College of the Atlantic on Tuesday, Oct. 25. The workshop, the first in COA’s new Solar for Businesses and Farms (SBF) program, takes place in Deering Common Community Center from 5:30-6:30 p.m. and is free and open to all interested parties.

The SBF program will provide participating business with a free analysis and report describing the potential for solar power at their location and how they can save money through energy efficiency measures. This hour-long workshop will include an overview of the program and information on how to sign up as a participant.

The SBF is the inaugural project of COA’s Community Energy Center (CEC), an initiative aimed at helping people and business owners reap the financial and social benefits of transitioning away from fossil fuels.

“The CEC intends to create a resource to further energy initiatives on MDI and in Hancock County while also offering data that can be replicated and scaled across the state,” said COA Director of Energy Education and Management Anna Demeo.

Funded by a $65,000 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Energy for America Program, the SBF project will provide 30 or more Hancock County farms and businesses with solar energy assessments and in-depth information on funding mechanisms. This is the first of several workshops planned.

“In addition to spurring positive change on the local level, CEC can have a wider reach by serving as a model and sharing experiences so that citizens elsewhere in the state and country may replicate successes,” Demeo said.

The CEC is inspired by College of the Atlantic’s work with Søren Hermansen and Malene Lundén, founders of the Samsø Energy Academy on Samsø Island, Denmark. Samsø became the world’s first 100 percent renewable energy island in 2007 through a process that included citizen participation and economic rejuvenation.

Demeo, Hermansen and Lundén taught a one-week course at the Energy Academy last spring for students in Demeo’s “Rethinking Energy” class and students from Trinity Washington University. Among the participants was CEC program manager Andrea Russell.

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