Solarize Kearsarge Sparks Great Interest at Launch Event

October 23rd, 2014 by christine

Solarize Kearsarge NH MeetingAn audience of more than 160, mostly from Andover, New London, and Wilmot, filled Clements Hall on the Colby-Sawyer College campus on October 18 as representatives from Vital Communities, a Vermont-based nonprofit, and ReVision Energy, an Exeter-based installer of solar-electric systems, told them of the benefits – economic and environmental – of owning their own solar electricity-producing installations.

Among the reasons to act now, Gregory said, is that ReVision is offering a sliding-scale pricing structure that, put simply, will mean that the more residents who sign contracts for system installations between now and the end of January, the greater the installer’s discount for everyone. He offered a table showing all incentives, rebates, and discounts for a system designed to meet the electricity needs of an average New Hampshire home.

Full article available here:

Maine’s First Solar Farm Built in Paris, ME

October 13th, 2014 by ReVision Energy
Maine Community Solar Farm Install Paris, ME

ReVision Energy solar installers working on the Maine’s first community solar farm, located in Paris, ME

After close to two years in development, ReVision Energy has started construction of Maine’s first community solar farm (CSF) at Sunnycroft Farm in Paris, ME. The CSF, a cooperative model for installing solar inspired by Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs), facilitates construction of a large solar electric array at a remote side that is co-owned by a group of solar customers who live elsewhere.

In this case, there are nine co-owners of the Sunnycroft Farm CSF, who will split energy dividends from the 51kw grid-tied solar electric array. The shareholder’s investment in the CSF allows them to offset electric usage at their primary homes, which are unsuitable for on-site solar for a variety of reasons (shading, apartment building, etc.).

How it Works

The CSF’s structure is enabled by virtual net metering legislation, a set of laws that mandates that the utility allow renewable energy generation at one site be allowed to be used to offset usage at another site. Under Maine’s virtual net metering laws, up to 10 individuals can share ownership of a renewable energy project. The CSF’s power generation will be automatically shared amongst the investors on a percentage basis depending on the amount of investment an individual has made. For instance, a 6% share (equivalent to 12 panels) cost $6,283. This investment level is enough to offset daily driving of an electric car such as a Chevy Volt.

A $40,000 grant from Efficiency Maine helped this first CSF get started, making funds available to clear legal and regulatory hurdles introduced by the CSF. With the first ‘pilot’ project underway, ReVision Energy is actively looking for both hosts and participants in future CSFs, and is already in discussions for projects in Damariscotta, Peaks Island, and South Portland.

In particular, sites to locate CSF projects are needed. Sites with existing buildings with large amounts of ideal southern exposure are ideal, though bare land can also be developed for community solar farms.

Solar Here or Solar Away?

If you have a suitable site for solar, it is better to install solar at your home. It is simpler and you will own 100% of the solar energy system’s benefits. However, for those homeowners where solar-on-your-own-roof is not feasible, CSFs offer an option for you to still generate your own solar power.

Unlike purchasing ‘green’ credits from the utility, being a member of a CSF actually results in the construction of new renewable energy resources, and the CSF is a long-term investment where you will receive reliable recurring dividends from the solar production that increase in value incrementally over time as utility rates increase.

While technically a CSF can provide power for anyone within a utility’s service territory, we are trying to architect arrangements where the system is local; the homeowners who benefit from the system are close enough to it that they can visit it from time to time, and the various investors are close enough to be able to meet with one another and experience the ‘community’ part of community solar!

For more information on CSFs, contact us or read the informative Portland Press Herald article.

Unitil Rate Increases by as much as $42/mo for NH customers, CMP customers see $4/mo hike

October 6th, 2014 by ReVision Energy
Portland Maine Solar Heat Pump Option

Homeowners like Justin McEdward of Portland, ME are protected from energy rate hikes thanks to their investments in solar energy and heat pumps

Along with death and taxes, add utility rate hikes to the list of certainties in life. This week, Unitil announced a near-doubling of their electricity supply rate from 8.5c/kWh to 15.5c/kWh. This will result in a staggering cost increase ofroughly $42/month for the average homeowner in the Seacoast. Mainers in CMP territory are also affected, though by a smaller (~$4/mo) increase that took effect September 1.

The increased Unitil rates are driven because of competition to get ahold of natural gas. AsSeacoast Online reports, “more than half of New England’s electricity is generated by natural gas and heating customers get first crack at the total natural gas capacity, according to [ISO New England's Marcia] Bloomberg, whose company operates the New England Power Grid, runs the competitive wholesale electricity markets and plans for future power needs.”

The competition for natural gas for both heating and electricity means that the price per therm skyrockets in the wintertime, driving up the cost for both usages of the energy. Unitil has a near apologetic tone in the news article, suggesting that homeowners take “energy-saving and cost-cutting initiatives” and “look into third-party electricity supply organizations” for lower rates of electricity.

We suggest one more: GO SOLAR!!!.

With Own Your Power loans available, you can lock in an electric rate at or below your current electric supply rate, swapping out a monthly payment to the power company to a fixed payment for a solar energy system that you own. When you Own Your Power with Solar, your electric rate (for the solar portion) will never increase. After 12 years, it is gone forever. Utility rates can double or triple over that 12-year period, and your monthly payment will stay the same.

Large York County solar projects under way

October 2nd, 2014 by christine

york-solar-installTwo of the largest solar energy projects in Southern Maine got under way this month in South Berwick and York.

The 38kW system at the South Berwick Public Library consists of 144 roof-mounted solar panels. The 28kW system atop the York Beach fire station includes 104 solar panels.

Depending on the season and other factors, each solar array should provide most of the power for each respective building’s needs. Excess power produced during peak times will go back into the grid, earning credits against each town’s electricity bills, said Jennifer Hatch, marketing manager for project contractor ReVision Energy.

They are both pretty good-sized projects for Maine,” Hatch said in a recent interview. “There are not that many that are around the 20-40 kW range … but they are becoming more popular, especially with municipalities.

Full article is available here:

ReVision cites early adoption and state as factors in growth

October 2nd, 2014 by christine

An early start in marketing solar technology and doing business in a state receptive to renewable energy are a couple of the factors cited by ReVision Energy for growth that warranted inclusion on a Top 10 Companies to Watch.

“Over the last five years, when it comes to solar electricity and photovoltaic panels, we’ve had a 50 percent drop in cost,” he said. “That has driven the demand that we’ve just responded to.”

The state has renewable energy funds that, according to Clapp, offer a homeowner up to $3,750 rebate on the installation of a photovoltaic array and up to $50,000 for a commercial enterprise. That combined with federal incentives, said Clapp, means 40 to 45 percent of a renewable energy investment might be covered. In addition, no longer is the investment a cash transaction.

Full article available here: