Archive for the ‘Projects’ Category

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/


Maine’s First Solar Farm Built in Paris, ME

Monday, October 13th, 2014
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.


Large York County solar projects under way

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

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: http://www.fosters.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20140918/GJNEWS_01/140919260