Friends School of Portland - SolarWe’ve completed a solar installation for the Friends School of Portland, a truly remarkable solar project that will provide 100% of the electricity for the newly built certified Passive House school.  This is the second investor-funded power purchase agreement (PPA) project done in Maine.  In this case, it was possible thanks to a partnership with Oceanview at Falmouth, who purchased and will manage the system for 7 years, after which the Friends School will have the option to purchase the system outright.

From the New England Real Estate Journal:

A special, intergenerational partnership between OceanView at Falmouth and the Friends School of Portland has led to a monumental achievement in energy-efficient building. The school’s new 15,000 s/f facility, set to open this fall has become the first school in Maine, the first commercial project in Maine, and the third school in the nation to achieve Passive House Certification – the highest international energy efficiency standard.

… The school achieved Passive House Certification and net-zero energy use thanks in part to a Power Purchase Agreement with OceanView at Falmouth. Through the agreement, OceanView funds the purchase and installation of the 144-panel solar array and subsequently receives the federal tax incentives for which the array qualifies. The Power Purchase Agreement and OceanView’s participation enables the school to fulfill its vision of being a Net Zero Building – meaning that it will produce as much energy as it uses. The solar panels will be installed by the local solar professionals at ReVision Energy and will eliminate the need to rely on traditional heating fuels such as oil, gas, coal or wood.

“This partnership extends beyond a financing component,” said John Wasileski of OceanView. “OceanView shares the Friends School of Portland’s commitment to clean energy and stewardship, and we envision a great intergenerational partnership for years to come. With multiple solar projects across all of our properties, the value of alternative energy cannot be understated.

The project has attracted national attention, including that of Maine’s Sen. Angus King (I), who is sponsoring The Free Market Energy Act of 2015, signature legislation that reduces barriers towards adoption of distributed renewable energy into the traditional electric grid.

Sen King said, “People across the country should have the right to make their own energy choices without having to jump through hoops or face the possibility of being penalized by unreasonable fees.  Right here in Maine, Friends School of Portland is deploying innovative technologies that will help it operate almost entirely independent of the electric grid.”

Oceanview at Falmouth has been a longstanding supporter of renewable energy, making cleaner energy generation a cornerstone of their policy of ‘smart growth.’  They have installed nearly a dozen systems on their facilities, including some of the largest solar thermal arrays in Maine, 360 tubes on their Hilltop Lodge and another 360 tubes on their Main Lodge.  We featured them in this video as part of our 2011 “Solar Road Tour” – Using Solar for Smart Growth.

Read more at: New England Real Estate Journal and Green Energy Maine.