Harvesting the Sun for Good

Tue, 05/17/2022 - 10:15am

Rose Mooney is always sunny.  She has a can-do attitude and infectious energy to execute all of the functions of her multi-faceted job as the Director of Facilities at the Boothbay Region YMCA.

Rose also has an uncanny ability to find efficiencies and save the Y money whenever she can. She is dedicated to the Y’s mission to sustainability and helping to serve the community. She learned in 2014 from Central Maine Power (CMP) that our peninsula has a power grid overload, particularly in the summer. To relieve the stress on the grid, CMP was looking for leasing partners.  It’s no surprise that Rose, and the Y, were eager to help provide green energy to the grid as well as save money, and solar panels were placed on the gymnasium roof.  This initiative produces approximately 84,000 kw/year and goes directly to the grid while the Y receives a discount on electricity. In 2024, the Y will own the panels outright and expects to reap the savings for another 20 years.   

Rose has been working diligently since 2014 to add more solar panels to reduce utility costs at the Y.  Last year, she negotiated with Revision Energy to enter into another power purchase agreement.  Through this arrangement, the Y allows Revision Energy to install the solar panels on our facility though a lease. While all of the energy produced is sent out to the grid, the Y receives a discount on our utility costs based on the power released to the grid.  Driving by the Y today, one can see the new panels on the roof.  By the end of the year, all of the panels will be installed and the new solar array will be generating approximately 390,000kwh a year in addition to the existing array on the gymnasium roof.  

The new solar panels will allow the Y to save over $3,000 a year on electrical power.  The Y will then have the option to purchase the panels in six years for $532,000. This initiative would have a substantial impact as it immediately reduces the Y’s utility costs by over $60,000 a year. Over the life of the solar array, the savings generated by the project will increase as the cost of utilities increase over time.  When the project is complete, the combined output of both solar arrays will offset over 90% of the power used in the Main Facility.   

Rose says, “We are mission driven and one of our goals is to help create a healthy community.  Providing solar power for the community in the short term and then being able to produce our own power in the long term is good for the Y, good for the community, and good for the planet.”