A new solar array at Wavus Camp for Girls in Jefferson is expected to provide power to the camp for decades and serve as a learning tool for the summer campers who spend time there each year.

The 36.4-kilowatt, grid-tied solar electric array was installed on the roof of the Wavus Barn at the camp on Damariscotta Lake and came online last month. A total of 136 solar panels cover the roof and will supply 11 percent of Kieve-Wavus Education’s annual electric use and will offset almost 20 tons of carbon pollution each year.

The orientation and solar exposure of the barn was ideal for the technology, said Jennifer Albee, customer relations manager for ReVision Energy in Liberty. It is expected to produce more than 42,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually and make power for 30-plus years.

Albee, who is from Jefferson, attended Camp Wavus 20 years ago. She said her family has lived in Jefferson since 1790, she was married on Damariscotta Lake, and her son was baptized in its waters.

“Wavus was such an important part of growing up (in Jefferson),” Albee said. “It fills me with pride to know that the solar panels at Wavus will make power for decades to come and that generations of campers will drive by that array and see their energy future.”

Kirstie Truluck, executive director of the Wavus Camp for Girls, said camp officials are excited about the opportunity to expose students to the solar production of electricity firsthand and to share the many values in this technology with camps, families and the community.

“The solar array sits just a few yards above the camp garden in which campers spend time each day tending to the growing plants and discovering the joys of fresh food,” Truluck said in the release. “It will be enlightening to experience firsthand some of the many ways the sun’s energy can be harnessed and put to good work.”

The project was funded through a power purchase agreement — a common arrangement in the solar industry — through which ReVision Energy installed the solar array at no cost to the camp, which is a nonprofit organization. In the next few years, Kieve-Wavus will pay the energy company a discounted rate for the electricity produced by the array. After six years, Kieve-Wavus can opt to purchase the system outright or continue to buy power from ReVision Energy.

ReVision has built more than 60 projects using power purchase agreements in the last six years, including installations in Waterville, Lincolnville, Wiscasset and the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences. Albee said the agreements are investments in the community.

“ReVision uses our own dollars and tax liability to fund solar arrays; and by doing so, we make a reasonable return on our investment,” Albee said. “But we also benefit the grid and the environment, create and sustain jobs for Mainers and stabilize energy costs for some of the most important, influential, and long-standing nonprofit and municipal organizations in Maine.”

Kieve-Wavus, which has a boys’ camp and leadership school in Nobleboro and the girl’s camp in Jefferson, has worked with ReVision Energy in the past on three other installations. The Wavus solar array joins an existing solar hot water array on the Kieve campus.

The contract for the Wavus Barn array was completed in September. The barn is mainly used for storage, and there is a workshop that the maintenance staff uses sometimes.

Russell Williams, the camp group’s development and communications director, said they’ve done millions of dollars in renovations the last 15 years and try to become more energy-efficient and environmentally conscious each time.

“It’s a great educational tool for the kids that come through here,” Williams said. “They see the systems we’ve installed, and it’s a good way to show them that we’re taking a lead role in environmental stewardship.”

Williams said the Wavus array is right at the entrance to the camp, so nobody can miss it. It will not only provide a tangible environmental impact to the organization, but also a conversation starter for the staff, campers and members of the community.

Jason Pafundi — 621-5663

[email protected]

Twitter: @jasonpafundiKJ

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.