Maine Company Accelerates Clean Energy Transition & Rapidly Grows Jobs
Content provided by ReVision Energy
As storms intensify and utility grid vulnerability increases, it's very good news that one of the first renewable energy microgrids in our region is being built at Brunswick Landing, powered by a massive solar array and anaerobic digester that converts agricultural waste into clean-burning fuel. Combining large-scale renewable energy with battery storage, heat pumps, LEDs and electric vehicle charging, the microgrid project is a community-scale, self-contained energy island emerging on the grounds of the former Naval Air Station that will provide greater energy resiliency and independence at lower cost than traditional energy sources.
Portland-based ReVision Energy is leading the microgrid project as part of its mission to help northern New England transition from a fossil fuel based economy to a sustainable renewable energy based economy. "Every year Mainers export $5 billion from the local economy to import fossil fuels from away," said Phil Coupe, a co-founder of ReVision. "Every time we build a solar energy system here at home, it helps plug that massive hole in Maine's fiscal boat by keeping our energy dollars in the local economy."
Since 2003 the company has grown from two guys in a garage in Liberty, ME to more than 200 employees in five locations in ME, NH and MA as more people and organizations invest in solar combined with hyper efficient, electric powered appliances to drastically reduce fuel consumption and carbon pollution. Two key factors are driving the company's growth, said Coupe:
1. The cost of solar technology has dropped by more than 75% over the past 10 years, and batteries are headed in the same direction.
2. Rapidly growing concern that 7 billion people burning fossil fuels in a closed atmosphere is utterly unsustainable as global energy demand is expected to grow 28% as population rises to 10 billion by 2050.
"Solar electricity has become cost-competitive with traditional sources of energy and this is a game-changing tipping point that is accelerating the clean energy transition" said Coupe. Modern solar technology comes with a 25-year warranty and 40-year expected useful lifespan, making it an attractive investment option because it is one of the few building upgrades that can be done cash flow neutral as the revenue stream of electricity generated by solar pays for the initial capital cost over time.
Maine's abundant solar resource, which is equal to that of Houston, TX and only 10% less than Florida's, delivers a strong economic and environmental return on solar energy projects that are being used to power homes, commercial buildings, schools and municipalities. A recent installation of 3,000 solar electric panels atop South Portland's capped landfill is powering 12% of the city's buildings while saving taxpayers thousands of dollars in utility costs and reducing carbon pollution from regional fossil fuel power plants.
In addition to helping Mainers save money and protect the environment, ReVision Energy is working with a wide range of non profits and schools to solve problems beyond over-reliance on fossil fuels. In 2015 ReVision became a certified B-Corp, which means that the business is being operated with a goal of creating maximum positive societal impact rather than the traditional approach of maximizing shareholder returns. "The positive feedback from employees and customers has been astounding--converting to a B-Corp may have been one of the single best business decisions we've ever made," said Coupe. In October 2017 ReVision converted to a 100% employee-owned company as a way to share the company's financial success with the people working hard to make it happen.
Consistently recognized as one of Maine's Best Places to Work, ReVision Energy has also built a sterling reputation for high quality installations and customer service, culminating in being named the #1 Rooftop Solar Contractor in New England by Solar Power Industry magazine.
This holiday season ReVision Energy is partnering with a nationwide solar coop and a disaster relief agency to build portable emergency power units for the hardest hit areas of Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria. The first 10 solar-powered trailers destined for Puerto Rico will be built at ReVision's newest 'decarbonization facility' in N. Andover, MA where volunteers will install solar panels, batteries, lights, power outlets and water purification systems. Once completed in the next month or two, the trailers will be shipped to Puerto Rico and then towed by SUV's to remote areas that have been without utility power and clean water for more than two months.
"Our goal is to alleviate some of the massive human suffering that is taking place in Puerto Rico," said Coupe. "With more than 50% of the island still without power, it's going to take many months for people to get back on their feet and resume some semblance of normal living."
ReVision Energy is an E2Tech Sustaining Steward and Phil Coupe is a Member of the E2Tech Board of Directors.