Town and school may collaborate on solar plan 

TRENTON — The Trenton Select Board and Trenton Elementary School may collaborate on a solar plan. 

At a Sept. 14 School Committee meeting, Mount Desert Island Regional School System (MDIRSS) Superintendent Marc Gousse spoke of the value in using solar energy, noting that MDI High School has installed solar panels and the Tremont Consolidated School has worked with its town to be part of the town’s solar farm.  

Trenton Select Board member Charlie Farley attended the meeting and explained that the board was discussing with ReVision Energy, a solar energy company based in Montville, a potential $50,000 deal that could incorporate solar panels on the town office and at the school. 

Without the school’s involvement, the cost for the town would be $60,000, Farley shared. 

“This is a no-brainer,” he said of the school and town collaborating. 

Gousse echoed that sentiment. 

“What a golden opportunity to collaborate with the town,” he said, noting the potential plan’s environmental and financial benefits.  

Newly named Trenton Principal Crystal DaGraca shared that she would be meeting with representatives from ReVision Energy and could look into coordinating the meeting or the information provided with the Select Board.  

At the Select Board’s Sept. 21 meeting, DaGraca invited the board to a presentation that will be given by ReVision Energy at the School Committee’s Oct. 12 meeting. 

Both the town and the school have been looking to incorporate solar technology for some time. 

School officials had considered adding solar panels to the school roof and requested funding to fix the roof at Town Meeting on June 12 in anticipation of possibly installing solar panels. 

Voters denied that request, stating the school should get a bid to replace its roof with a metal roof that will likely cost more but last longer than an asphalt roof. 

The town has also been investigating solar options in a years-long effort led largely by Trenton resident Michael Gilmartin.  

The Select Board nearly signed an agreement with Sundog Solar to install 144 solar panels on the roof of the town office that would have produced 43,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy per year. 

That deal fell apart in June after the town found out the elementary school could not be a recipient of power generated at the town office because the school uses a demand meter instead of one of the four energy meters overseen by the town.  

Without the school’s energy usage, the town office only uses about 28,000 kWh per year and Sundog’s agreement could not be adjusted to accommodate that smaller number.  

Farley shared at the Sept. 14 meeting that the difference in meters would not be an issue in the ReVision Energy deal. 

Along with exploring the collaboration with the town, Gousse also recommended that DaGraca get quotes on the cost of replacing the school’s roof with metal roofing. 

Rebecca Alley

Rebecca Alley

Reporter at The Ellsworth American
Rebecca is the Schoodic-area reporter and covers the towns of Eastbrook, Franklin, Hancock, Lamoine, Sorrento, Sullivan, Waltham, Winter Harbor and Trenton. She lives in Ellsworth with her husband and baby boy who was joyously welcomed in June 2020. Feel free to send tips and story ideas to [email protected]

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