The public is invited to Mount Desert Island High School on Wednesday, September 18th from 12:30 to 1:30 to celebrate the completion of Maine’s largest high school solar array in a ribbon cutting ceremony.

Superintendent Marc Gousse, Principal Matt Haney, and student speakers will share their thoughts on the installation, sustainability, and the significance for the school of switching to 100% clean electricity. Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives Sara Gideon and local Representative Brian Hubbell will also speak to the project as a community role model for Maine, in line with the new administration’s goals for addressing climate change and solar legislation.

The project was inspired by Drew Rich, MDIHS class of 2017, whose senior exhibition project served as a catalyst to move solar at the high school from a concept to reality and facilitated by A Climate to Thrive (ACTT), a non-profit organization committed to energy independence for MDI by 2030. Going solar will save the high school an estimated $1.3 million in electricity costs over 25 years.

Matt Haney, MDI High School Principal said "I am incredibly proud of the collective efforts that have led us to this momentous occasion.  We would not be at this place without a phenomenal partnership comprised of our students, alumni, staff, elected officials, Sundog Solar, A Climate to Thrive, and the entire MDI-area community.  I am filled with gratitude that we have this opportunity to lead the way in our state in such a critical and timely undertaking." The MDIHS Board of Trustees reviewed and approved the solar array in January of this year.

Installation of 1,450 solar panels will be completed shortly by Sundog Solar of Searsport, Maine. The 435 kW array will generate enough electricity over the course of the year to offset 100% of the school’s electricity consumption. The high school will remain connected to the grid, generating excess electricity and kWh credits in summer to offset lower power output in winter.

MDIHS has also just installed a public dual port Level 2 Electric Vehicle (EV) charging station, the first at the High School. The electricity used is paid through the OpConnect network by the EV driver, so there is no cost to the High School for electricity.  ACTT’s EV Infrastructure program, which has been implementing EV charging stations throughout Downeast Maine, funded the station and ReVision Energy of Liberty, Maine did the installation.

All students at MDIHS will be in attendance at this educational event focusing on the benefits and feasibility of sustainable actions that save money and create jobs. Prior to the ribbon cutting, students will get to see drone footage of the completed installation via Jeff Zaman, the High School media director. The public is invited to attend the event, which will take place in the gym.