Unity Professor Leverages PACE Loan to Make Power From the Sun
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For Cheryl Frederick, Assistant Professor of Captive Wildlife Care and Education at Unity College, the tipping point for energy came this past semester when she had a guest lecturer in her classroom talk about coal.
“There is nothing clean about coal,” she remembers, “And our environment is in crisis. I thought – I need to go beyond teaching this to living it.”
That decision brought her to ReVision Energy, who she learned about through colleagues at the university who were familiar with our work. She appreciated not only the lofty recommendation she received, but that she would be employing Unity alumni for her project.
PACE Financing Makes it Possible
Cheryl’s system took advantage of the new PACE program by Efficiency Maine, a low-interest loan tied to the value of your home specifically made for renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements. Maine is the first state in the country to offer PACE financing and Cheryl’s may be one of the first home to use it for solar electricity. But despite the newness of the program, she says the experience was great.
“The whole process took about a month,” she says. “Now our money now goes to the loan instead of the utility bill, and if we stay here long enough we’ll get most or all of our electricity for free. It’s an amazing program – we wanted to do solar and the PACE loan made it possible.”
Solar As a Form of Entertainment
Cheryl, like many solar electric system owners, finds herself having lots of fun watching the performance of her system through her web-based monitoring portal. She can now see how much power she generates in a given day and check in from anywhere with an internet connection.
“It’s like watching stocks go up – you have a nice sunny day and then get to see how much power you generated,” she says, adding “The website also tells you what your carbon offset is and how many trees you have saved.”
She finds that being aware of how much power she’s generating makes her more aware of how much power she’s using. “We have become more careful about our power use, and are hoping to bank more power this summer than we use. That way, we can use more electric heaters this winter to offset our oil use.”
The best part? “I feel like I’m finally doing my part,” she says, “Instead of cutting down trees, I’m saving them.”