BAR HARBOR — Business owners and farmers in Hancock County are invited to a solar power information session on Monday, Nov. 6, at the Southwest Harbor Public Library. The free event, which is part of the College of the Atlantic’s Solar for Businesses and Farms (SBF) initiative, begins at 5:30 p.m.
The SBF initiative aims to help local farmers and business owners reap the financial and social benefits of transitioning away from fossil fuels. Funded by a $65,000 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture Renewable Energy Development Assistance program, the project is providing thirty or more Hancock County farms and small businesses with solar energy assessments and in-depth information on funding mechanisms available for solar power installations.
“This project highlights a community-oriented, interactive, grassroots approach to energy independence designed to help take Downeast Maine towards a sustainable future,” says College of the Atlantic Community Energy Center (CEC) program manager Andrea Russell.
The CEC is a resource to further local energy initiatives on MDI and in Hancock County while also offering data that can be replicated and scaled across the state, Russell says. The SBF is the flagship project of the CEC and has recently completed its first year.
The CEC is inspired by College of the Atlantic’s work with 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. The CEC aims to encourage similar adoption of renewable energy through collaborative efforts in Hancock County.
Russell has traveled to Samsø to study the process community leaders went through as they engaged the remote island municipality to take control of their renewable energy future, she says.
“Changes to the built environment do not happen in a vacuum, and citizens fueled this change,“ she says. “Neighbors on Samsø saw each other improving their windows and doors, adding super-efficient heating systems, or tying into a district heating system. As these efficiency changes gained traction, so did alternative energy implementation.”
For more information, please call the COA Community Energy Center at 801-5688, e-mail email@example.com, visit the Community Energy Center on facebook, or visit the CEC’s website at www.coa.edu/cec.