A new informal association in the midcoast will help its members reduce their winter heating costs by improving the energy efficiency of their homes and converting to renewable energy use. Members of the Midcoast Green Energy Cooperative (the Co-op) intend to gradually eliminate their dependence on fossil fuels.
Member households commit to improve their dwellings, as rapidly as their financial situation permits, track their energy savings, and reinvest them in further energy improvements. The key is discipline on the part of members and support on the part of the Co-op.
The Co-op makes it possible for member households to stay within their current heating budget, and gradually reduce heating costs, regardless of fuel price inflation. It provides independent, professional energy audits and assists with implementing audit recommendations. It offers house-specific do-it-yourself advice, identifies and vets competent, reliable contractors, develops financing mechanisms, and offers such other technical services as required.
A major element of the Co-op’s strategy is facilitating member use of solar photovoltaic (PV) electricity. With recent reductions of PV panel prices, major incentives like a 30% federal tax credit, and advantageous financing offered byReVision Energy, PV has become a great way to reduce both energy costs and carbonemissions. Co-op members with good solar access install grid-connected PV systemsand enjoy the immediate benefit of net metering. All PV power is automatically fedinto the electric power grid and credited by the utility against the home’s electricbill. Such credits are worth hundreds of dollars per year for properly sized PV systems. Additional cost savings accrue from displacing oil and propane with electric heat pumps.
For homes with poor solar access (poor orientation, shading, unsuitable roof) the Co-op is developing solar farms, in partnership with ReVision Energy. Such farms, provided for by Maine’s utility regulations, allow up to nine households to establish a jointly owned grid-connected PV system at a location with good solar access, away from their own homes. Participating households are entitled to the same benefits enjoyed by individual PV system owners, including net metering, provided both their homes and the solar farm are located within the service area of the same utility.
Membership in the Co-op is open to all area home owners, For more information, come to our next meeting, visit this website, or call (207) 563-5487