Archive for the ‘Projects’ Category

Near Net Zero on a Community Scale

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

belfast cohousing solar
In December 2013, an ice storm caused an extended power outage in Maine, leaving many residents scrambling to keep their pipes from freezing. But even with no utility electricity for five days, below-freezing temperatures, primarily overcast conditions, and no supplemental heat, the homes at Belfast Cohousing & Ecovillage (BC&E) lost only 2°F a day, on average, for a total drop of 8°F to 10°F. Nearby homes, by contrast, were below freezing after 24 hours.

Although the homes aren’t certified, the Passive House Institute US standards guided the design process. A southerly orientation; generous south-facing glazing; triple-pane windows and doors; lots of insulation; airtight construction; and a compact footprint resulted in a 90% reduction in the energy used for space heating compared to the average house. The homes share walls, reducing the exterior surface area and heat loss to the outside.

Full article is available here: http://www.homepower.com/articles/home-efficiency/project-profiles/near-net-zero-community-scale


Durham natives provide low-cost solar energy

Monday, December 29th, 2014

sunraise-logoSunRaise Investments, a solar energy financing company started this year by Durham natives, eventually will save an estimated $60,000 in electricity costs for The White Mountain School in Bethlehem.

The deal is based on a long-term energy contract, called a power purchase agreement, in which the school agrees to host the 43kW solar array on its roof and purchase the electricity being produced. SunRaise then provides the school with below market electricity that insulates the school from volatile price spikes associated with fossil fuels.

“The dialogue has changed in a wonderful way. It’s no longer just the right thing to do, it’s also the cost-effective way to source electricity,” says Jackson.

SunRaise partnered with ReVision Energy, a local solar energy company to install the system. ReVision has installed almost 4,000 residential solar systems in New Hampshire and Maine as well as dozens of commercial systems, advancing solar in the region for more than 11 years.

Full article available here: http://www.fosters.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20141229/GJBUSINESS_01/141229519/0/SEARCH


Retired Mill Worker Invests Solar to Further Self-Sufficiency

Monday, December 15th, 2014
Bob & Bonnie Morrison of Norridgewock Go Solar

Bob and Bonnie Morrison stand in front of their pole-mount solar electric array by their home in Norridgewock, Maine

For Bob Morrison of Norridgewock, solar was something he’d dreamed of for decades. Upon retiring in 2011 after working for nearly thirty years at the Sappi Fine Paper Mill in Skowhegan, he decided to take self-sufficiency to a new level. In addition to having an enviable garden, various apple trees and a knack for canning and freezing, Bob and his wife Bonnie can now harvest sunshine for their energy needs.

Their first step toward an energy-smart home was to install a TED (The Energy Detective), a small monitoring device that can tell homeowners how much power is being used and where. With the help of this tool, the Morrisons cut their energy use in half from roughly 600 kilowatt hours a month to just over 300. “We consolidated our freezers, put appliances on timers, and cut back on using the dryer – we use the clothesline whenever we can,” says Bob. “I must look at the TED twenty times a day.”

Knowing that the costs of solar had come down substantially in recent years, Bob did some online research and was soon in touch with John Luft from ReVision’s Liberty branch. The reduction in their electric usage meant that Bob and Bonnie’s first solar array – a 7 kilowatt rooftop system featuring twenty-six USA-made solar panels installed in winter of 2013 – not only covered their household electric usage, but also allowed them to power their Chevy Volt using solar energy.

“I was able to get the $2,000 (Efficiency Maine) rebate before the program expired, so my first installation cost roughly $13,500 after the rebate and federal tax credit,” says Bob. After combining his CMP savings from solar with the gasoline saved with their electric car, Bob figures his first solar installation will pay for itself in roughly six and a half years. “I consider myself an investor – I’ve invested in stocks and now I’ve invested in solar.”

Expanding Solar to Heat and Cool

Norridgewock, ME Solar - Chevy Volt and Nissan LEAF

This pole-mounted solar electric array will provide plenty of electricity to power these two electric cars, the Chevy Volt and Nissan LEAF

ReVision is currently working with Bob and Bonnie to install two pole-mounted arrays for another 7.2 kilowatts of solar capacity. In addition to protecting themselves against anticipated CMP rate hikes in early 2015, Bob and Bonnie will now have homegrown kilowatt hours to power their mini-split heat pump and heat pump water heater, as well as their second vehicle, a Nissan LEAF, further reducing their need to purchase fossil fuels for their vehicles or their home. As Bob says, “Whether or not you believe in climate change, why defile the only planet you can live on?”

And though natural gas lines go right by their house, the Morrisons decided not to hook up, citing volatile and uncontrollable costs. “Natural gas appears cheap now, but it won’t be for long,” says Bob. “And as long as the sun comes out, we’ll have solar energy right here.”

Now every time the sun shines, the Morrisons can take heart that regardless of what happens to fuel and electric prices, they’ve locked in costs for years to come. “I don’t have a fuel bill,” says Bob, “not for my house or my cars. I’m a Mainer – I like to be self-sufficient. For me, solar is a no brainer – I only wish I could have done it sooner.”


South Berwick Library Goes Solar!

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014



South Berwick is the latest Maine municipality we’ve had the pleasure to help go solar – joining a growing list of forward-thinking towns and cities (including Eliot, ME, York, ME Durham, NH, Freeport, ME, Windham, ME, Lincolnville, ME, Dayton, ME, Gorham, ME… and many others). Check out our website’s photo gallery for photos of more municipalities that have made solar investments.

Faced with the expiration of an ARRA-era grant, South Berwick needed solar installed… and fast! ReVision Energy was able to assist, designing, procuring, and installing a 38.88kw American-made Suniva solar energy array in under 3 months. This gorgeous grid-tied photovoltaic array will generate over 46,000 kWh/yr of clean electricity for 25+ years.

Bill Rogers of the Coruway Film Institute (who happens to live across the street from the library) shot this fun, upbeat video about the project, with interview with the Town Manager, Perry Ellsworth and Library Director, Karen Eger. The South Berwick Library’s transformation from an old church to a modern, energy efficient solar-powered learning center is complete! It will serve not only as a practical solar installation, but as an inspiration in the community. We were proud to be part of this fantastic project.


Solarize Kearsarge Sparks Great Interest at Launch Event

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

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: http://andoverbeacon.com/index.php/14175/