Breaking News
More () »

Maine's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Maine | NewsCenterMaine.com

Mount Desert High School becomes first school in Maine to run completely on renewable energy

On Wednesday, Mount Desert High School unveiled its more than 1,400 new solar panels. MDI becomes the first school in Maine to completely offset its electricity use.

BAR HARBOR, Maine — Mount Desert High School will be running completely on solar energy any day now. More than 1,400 panels have been installed on the school's roof.

"It's exciting. We're proud. And it's a responsibility," Principal Matt Haney said on Wednesday.

It's a responsibility the faculty, staff, and students at Mount Desert Island High School have to the rest of the state, and country. That responsibility is to lead by example.

"You don't have to be some big power mogul or something to make a huge change you just have to be passionate and try hard," sophomore Sirohi Kumar said.

Kumar did an internship with Climate to Thirve and was a big part of this project.

Many of her peers feel just as strongly about climate change. During Wednesday afternoon's event, a video played showing the more than fourteen hundred solar panels on the roof of the school. The gym at Mount Desert High School erupted in cheers when students saw the finished product.

"It really didn't start to come to full fruition until students started coming to the forefront and started pushing it," Haney said, giving his students all the credit for this project.

The solar business is booming. That could be in part to the 30% tax credit anyone who installs solar panels in their homes can receive.

Whatever the reason, those that work in the solar business are excited about it.

For Penobscot Solar Design owner, Daryl DeJoy, who has been installing solar panels for thirty years, it's special.

"It's just nice to be so busy and feeling like something I've been working at for so long is finally coming to fruition," he said.

DeJoy didn't do this project at Mount Desert Island High school, but last year his team install panels on the school's warehouse.

The new project will completely offset the use the school has for energy.

The panels themselves were purchased by an outside investor, but the school is still responsible for paying for the power which is on a 25-year plan.

In the first six years, the power will be paid for by the school, but the remaining 19, the power will be free. The only thing the school will have to worry about will be maintenance on the panels, which will produce renewable energy, even on cloudy days.

RELATED: Solar energy gets big boost from Legislature