FALMOUTH, Maine — The Maine Audubon Society here has a new solar panel system that will help reduce energy costs, curb reliance on oil and limit carbon emissions.
It's all thanks to an unusual partnership with Moody's Collision Centers, which is paying for all 144 of the solar panels, and Revision Energy, which installed them.
Sen. Angus King, on hand for a press conference about the project, says it should be a model for similar collaborations across Maine and the country to combat climate change. Another unique aspect of the solar project is that it uses GPS technology to track the movement of the sun, so it provides up to 40 percent more electricity than a fixed-array system.
"This is great for Maine," King says. "Jobs are going to grow as a result of it. Our dependency on fossil fuels and outside sources of energy are going to diminish. We're going to be able to be more self-sufficient, which is consistent with who we are as a people."
Shawn Moody says it cost $250,000 dollars to purchase the solar equipment. He says his company paid for it by taking advantage of a federal investment tax credit for renewable energy, something not available to Maine Audubon because it is a nonprofit.
"What we will do is basically offset what we would have paid the federal government in income taxes to the capital side of the project," Moody says. "So we're basically, instead of paying Uncle Sam, we're basically paying to help you know, all the things that the good senator talked about: promoting alternative energy and be a good steward in the environment."
In addition, as part of a power purchase agreement between the two organizations, Maine Audubon will buy electricity from Moody's for the next six years. After that, Maine Audubon has the option to buy the solar installation, which will generate nearly 80 percent of the organization's electricity and offset an estimated 90,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per year.
Charles Gauvin, executive director of Maine Audubon, says as the state's largest wildlife conservation organization, there has been a collective feeling that it was "time to begin to walk the walk in addition to talking the talk" about ending a heavy reliance on fossil fuels.