MOUNT DESERT ISLAND, ME – Ninety-six solar panels were installed at College of the Atlantic’s Peggy Rockefeller Farms on November 5, and three separate arrays with 99 panels will be installed at the Kathryn W. Davis Residence Village on COA’s main campus. In total, 195 panels for almost 50 kilowatts of installed solar capacity – more than 35 metric tons of CO2 offset annually – will be implemented. College of the Atlantic is working with ReVision Energy, based in Liberty Maine, to install the new solar energy systems for the college.
“The solar electric systems COA is installing in partnership with ReVision Energy is one more step along the path toward creating a renewably-powered energy future,” said COA’s Director of Sustainability, Craig Ten Broeck. “The electricity from the projects will provide 60,000 kilowatt hours a year, equivalent to the use of about ten average Maine homes, and meet six percent of the college’s annual electricity needs.”
The partnership is made possible through a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) that allows the college to pay no upfront costs for the solar energy systems while reaping its benefits. ReVision owns and operates the equipment for seven years while monitoring system output in kilowatt-hours. COA will pay ReVision a lower cost per kilowatt-hour than they’ve been paying for electricity. At the end of the seven years, COA will be able to buy the system at a fraction of its original cost.
COA is joining other Maine colleges – University of New England, Unity College, Thomas College, Bowdoin College – investing in long-term energy solutions with solar to reduce energy costs while making a commitment to a more local and sustainable energy economy. While about a third of Maine’s electricity comes from hydro power, the rest comes from fossil fuels like oil, coal, natural gas, and nuclear.
In September 2013, Renewable Energy World reported that global solar electric installations, coupled with a sharp fall in new wind capacity, has led to solar growth outpacing wind this year for the first time ever. Greentech Media released findings in August that showed two-thirds of all solar electric capacity in place worldwide has been installed since January 2011.
The electricity sector in 2011 was the largest source of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for about 33% of the U.S. total, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Greenhouse gas emissions from electricity have increased by about 18% since 1990 as electricity demand has grown and fossil fuels have remained the dominant source for generation.
As of today, COA is part of the “Go Fossil Free” movement organized by 350.org and is no longer invested in the fossil-fuel-related companies appearing on 350.org’s list of 200 such companies: http://gofossilfree.org/companies.
About ReVision Energy
ReVision Energy is a full service renewable energy contracting company that provides a full range of engineering, design, installation and equipment service for homes, businesses, municipal buildings and nonprofits. For more information, visit http://www.revisionenergy.com.
About College of the Atlantic
College of the Atlantic was founded in 1969 on the premise that education should go beyond understanding the world as it is, to enabling students to actively shape its future. A leader in experiential education and environmental stewardship, COA has pioneered a distinctive interdisciplinary approach to learning—human ecology—that develops the kinds of creative thinkers and doers needed by all sectors of society in addressing the compelling and growing needs of our world. For more information, visit www.coa.edu.