Despite a couple of big winter storms, there’s plenty of sunshine to keep solar arrays cranking in the Pine Tree State, and Chewonki is making good use of it. We’ve upped our game by replacing older panels with new, bigger arrays; adding new ones; and repurposing the smaller arrays where we need them. Leading the expansion has been Facilities Manager Carob Arnold and ReVision Energy, a New England solar installer that includes Hans Albee, an alumnus of Boys Camp and Wilderness Trips.
Last spring, we moved a 3.5-kW system off the Center for Environmental Education and carried it up to Chewonki’s Big Eddy Cabins and Campground, where it’s quietly and cleanly replacing some of the output of the diesel generator. A new 44-kW array went up on the Center’s roof in the fall, and we cleared some of the trees behind the building to allow more sunlight to find it.
Also in the fall, an 18.15-kW array went up on the Allen Center and the Wallace Center got a 24.48-kW system that covers the whole surface of the roof, replacing a 3.5-kW array that will soon supplant a small 2-kW system on the farm workshop. It, in turn, will find a home somewhere else at Chewonki. (Carob is dreaming about parking the array on a pontoon boat at Chewonki’s Fourth Debsconeag Lake outpost; stay tuned.)
Taken together, solar arrays now produce about half of Chewonki’s electricity, significantly reducing our dependence on fossil fuel. That’s bright!