Solar Champion Stories

Maine Homeowners Create an Island in the Sun

Susanna Place and Scott Stoll have a retreat on Georgetown Island, not far from Bath, Maine. Scott is a sculptor and Susanna has worked with nonprofits all through her career - they are both technically retired, but they still lead active lives in the local and regional community, hosting artists and pushing for better policy to combat climate change.

Both were Peace Corps volunteers before they met, and all their lives they have thrived on facilitating positive change in communities. They are now in their 60s, Susanna notes, and remarks, "We've seen a lot of climate change in the last 30 years, and we became increasingly concerned that our generation was not doing enough to leave the world a better place."

Made in Maine Renewable Energy Technology

A few years ago, at the Common Ground Country Fair, Susanna and Scott learned about a wind + solar combination that a young, Maine-based company, Pika Energy , had developed. They soon had a wind turbine and 16 solar panels installed, allowing them to harvest some of Maine's abundant sunshine and rugged coastal winds ( Note: wind energy is great but only in select regions of New England is the resource reliable enough for a wind turbine investment to make sense - this is why you tend to only see it on the coast or mountains: see our tech comparison ).

As the prices for solar technology plummeted, Scott and Susanna sought to ramp up their solar production. On this project, they found ReVision Energy the right match for both its technical competence and values.

Susanna says: "We were pleased to see how involved in the communities ReVision is through their B Corp commitment, and we decided we were going to choose a solar installer that completely mirrored our values."

Pika Energy Island

While planning for the addition of 24 solar panels, they decided it would be wise to add battery backup to their system, for ultimate resilience. Since their initial install, Pika Energy had expanded their product line to now offer a new Energy Island system, which combines renewable energy resources, battery storage, and grid/generator backup to turn any building into a smart, clean energy microgrid.

Microgrid Unites Wind, Solar

Susanna and Scott chose Pika's own Coral smart battery to complement their renewable energy production; they have enough backup to provide power for a day or two, even with no sun or wind.

Any number of trees can come down during a New England storm, and they enjoy having an uninterrupted power supply in times of outage. More than just keeping the lights on, battery backup also protects their family business endeavor, Scott explains. "We also have a small oyster farm in collaboration with my son and his wife, the Georgetown Island Oyster Company," he says, "For that we need reliable refrigeration when we have oysters waiting to go to market."

Susanna and Scott also see the bigger benefits of battery storage relating to the increasing frequency of superstorms around the globe - communities being able to retain power in times of catastrophe can save many lives. It is not enough for them to care about their own children and grandchildren, they believe in stepping up and taking responsibility for all the children in the world.

Thinking Globally, Acting Locally

Susanna is matter-of-fact about the situation we all face, "The incidence of extreme weather events is definitely climbing. We happen to believe in the science of greenhouse gases warming the planet - but even if you're a climate change denier, there's no denying that trillions of dollars are being spent on remediation and disaster relief that could be better invested into creating an exciting, dynamic, cleaner, safer, healthier world."

Big dreams like a world running on clean, renewable energy sound well within reach when expressed through Scott and Susanna's inspirational outlook. The foundation of their vision is this - we must all be the change we wish to see . Their next goal is to graduate from a hybrid vehicle to one that is all-electric, and to fuel it with sunshine.

Scott and Susanna are excited for what's ahead, and see recent news of automakers pledging to go all-electric as hopeful signals of the cleaner world to come. Meanwhile, they are focused on community-level initiatives like creating a solar farm for a self-sufficient Georgetown Island. They are eager to help educate, and are thrilled that a technologically brilliant company like Pika Energy, and an exemplary driver of positive change like ReVision Energy, are here in the region providing world-class energy solutions for everyone.

Susanna Place And Scott Stoll Georgetown Island Oyster Company