Solar Industry News

Solar Power Gives Old Orchard Beach Visitors Another Way to Enjoy the Sun

For more than 170 years, the combination of a vast sand beach, beautiful accommodations, and lively entertainment has made Old Orchard Beach (O.O.B.) Maine's #1 beach destination. Now, visitors can enjoy the sun in a new way: the Chamber of Commerce and Paradise Park Resort partnered with ReVision Energy to transition to solar power.

Mike Halle, CFO and Board of Directors member for the O.O.B. Chamber of Commerce, heads efforts to reduce the environmental footprint of the chamber, as well as for Paradise Park Resort, where Mike is the Vice President of Sales. A 30 year veteran of the lumber industry, Halle's passion for energy efficiency earned him Philip Hastings Award from Governor Baldacci, recognizing "outstanding commitment to reducing our energy usage." In 2018, Halle reached out to ReVision Energy to discuss how the O.O.B. Chamber could harness the power of the sun.

De-Carbonizing the Chamber of Commerce

"We embarked on an initiative," says Halle. "We wanted to improve the comfort of the chamber facility while also reducing our carbon usage."

ReVision Energy first installed air-source heat pumps throughout the chamber building, creating a more efficient heating and cooling system and reducing the dependence on oil. After discovering the chamber building was a suitable location for solar panels, Mike, along with other chamber board members, took a closer look at the economics to see if it was feasible.

"We were pleased to learn that the economics of the project could allow us to produce all of our power without creating hardship to the chamber finances," Says Halle. Thanks to the availability of impact investor capital through ReVision's Solar Impact Partner program, O.O.B. Chamber was able to enter a Power Purchase Agreement with ReVision Energy. Under this arrangement, ReVision provides the upfront capital to build the project, allowing the chamber to purchase solar-produced power for up to 6 years at a lower-than-market rate. After 6 years, the chamber then has the option to buy and own the solar electric system outright.

The 67 solar electric panels installed on the rooftop of the O.O.B Chamber building, should produce around 26,742 kilowatt-hours per year, offsetting close to 85% of the chamber's current energy load. In addition, a Stiebel Eltron Accelera efficient water heater was installed that will use the clean energy created by the chamber's roof to heat the domestic hot water. The renewable energy transition continues in 2019 for the chamber as they explore the possibility of installing electric vehicle charging stations, powering vehicles with clean energy from the sun.

On to the Next

The success of the O.O.B. Chamber's transition to clean, solar energy was enough to inspire Mike to inquire about Paradise Park Resort. Taking a really comprehensive look at the economics for the resort, Mike only found positives with financing a solar electric system. "For us, the appeal of producing our own clean renewable power was intriguing, after studying the economics, we found that after taking advantage of the 26% federal tax credit and the accelerated depreciation options, made the return on investment attractive enough for us to move forward with the project," says Halle. Recently completed, ReVision Energy installed 98 solar electric panels on the rooftop of a new warehouse building for the resort, which is expected to produce close to 33,000 kilowatt-hours per year, eliminating 51,000 pounds of CO2 emissions annually.

The time for clean energy is more crucial than ever as communities like Old Orchard Beach begin feeling the effects of climate change. As tourism booms with people flocking to the beach with ever-increasing warmer temperatures, flooding and fishing challenges arise. "Flood insurance is increasingly a bigger factor for coastal property owners, resulting in inflationary pressures. Another concern is how warming water could impact our fisheries in Maine and how our neighbors who make a living on the water could be impacted," Mike explains. The O.O.B. Chamber along with Paradise Park Resort hope to be a model to the community and its members on the different ways to leverage renewable energy technologies to not only reduce carbon emissions, but also reduce operational costs.

Solar Chat for Business on 6/11/19

Join the Old Orchard Beach Chamber of Commerce and ReVision Energy on Tuesday, June 11th to learn more about renewable energy options that can transition your business to a clean, solar-powered future. Enjoy breakfast and networking with like-minded individuals from the community from 7:30-8:00 am, followed by a panel discussion and Q&A session from local sustainability advocates, including Kim Verreault (Executive Director of O.O.B. Chamber of Commerce), Mike Halle (CFO of Paradise Park), and Nick Sampson (Commercial Sales of ReVision Energy).

Come join us and bring your own questions to learn more about what's involved when considering solar energy for your business, including current incentives and financial saving options.

This event is free and open to the public but please RSVP at the following link as space is limited: