Two years after they began, officials at Mount Desert Island High School, Climate to Thrive and Sundog Solar are almost finished making the high school a clean energy generator.
According to MDI Superintendent of Schools Marc Gousse, almost 1,200 solar panels are being installed on the roof to generate enough electricity to offset 100 percent of the school’s power demand. The panels will be linked to the grid through the utility company Emera Maine.
He said when it's done, the school will be able to produce its own clean power without dependency on fossil fuels.
Last week Governor Janet Mills signed energy legislation that will save the school district a lot of money on the solar panel project going forward.
"Instead of saving $200,000 over 25 years, it's going to add an additional million dollars to that projected savings because of the 75 percent solar credit that we will now get for transmission and delivery," Climate to Thrive Co-Coordinator Joe Blotnick said.
They said there's another motivation for the solar panel project besides the million dollar savings.
"The sustainability, it's the right thing to do for the environment. It's the right thing to do in response to climate, and I hope this is a segue that will bring all communities and all schools on board with this so that we can continue to meet our power needs and also do the right thing environmentally through sustainability and climate-wise," Gousse said.
Stella Walke, a junior at the school, said the project gives students hope for sustaining the environment for the future.
"I'm very happy that I'm going to a school where the people in charge are aware of issues like this and are aware they need to take steps and they're actually doing the things that are necessary to take these steps and it's very cool and I'm very proud," Walke said.