Links to Articles and Materials on Alternative Energy by Topic

For educational purposes only.  None of this material necessarily reflects the policy or views
 of the Swan’s Island Electric Cooperative (SIEC).

This matrix will be updated with new materials on a monthly basis.  Anyone finding other material they think should be shared on the SIEC website can send the link to Eric Chetwynd,, who will see that it is included in the monthly update.  Meanwhile, if you would like a copy of the current matrix, send in a request to Eric’s e-mail above. 

Topic and Link

Brief Summary




This is a link to the Swan’s Island Solar Group, with about 60 members.  Enter this into your browser and you should get to it.  Contains comments and many articles on solar.


Is solar the next shale?  Just as shale extraction reconfigured oil and gas, no other technology is closer to transforming power markets than distributed and utility scale solar,” writes Prajit Ghosh, an energy analyst at Wood MacKenzie and the study’s primary author. 


Something Astounding Just Happened in the Solar Energy World

This article describes how customers on one VT utility can buy into ownership of a group owned solar array. 

A periodic news bulletin on solar solutions by America’s Electric Co-op Network.

A North Yarmouth greenhouse’s conversion to renewable energy sources won praise Tuesday from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which announced a new batch of $280 million in grants and loans for farms, ranches and rural businesses to make energy efficiency investments.  Primarily a solar conversion.

Summary of PUC study of solar in New England and several mid-Atlantic states.  Takeaway is that solar benefits exceed costs in long run.  Maine the only NE state without a solar policy.  Federal subsidies soon to fall from 30% to zero for homeowners unless Congress acts.



America’s solar energy growing rapidly, now has more employees than Apple, Google, Facebook and Twitter combined.

Developer plans solar farm on abandoned Navy radar site in Hancock County.  Would power up to 600 avg. homes.  Cost estimate 9 million.


Story about planned community solar farm of 175 panels on roof of Bar Harbor’s new public works complex off Crooked Road.  Shareholders lease space from town for small fee.

Solar PV system installations prices fell by 9 – 12 percent in  2014 for residential installations.  Commercial installations fell by 6%.

Michigan State University creates a fully transparent solar cell that could make every window and screen a power source.

Elon Musk developing solar battery for households.

Solar tech site with lots of articles on solar tech issues.

The cost of battery packs for electric vehicles has fallen more rapidly than projected, with market leading firms in 2014 producing batteries at ~$300 per kilowatt-hour of storage capacity, on par with market projections for 2020.


Portland based GridSolar is engaged in a pilot project to improve the grid in the Boothbay region to the point that a new transmission line from Central Maine Power is not needed.  Project combines solar panels, energy efficiency, generator and batteries.  Has save $17 million since 2012.

Heat Pumps

Article on the relative benefits of installing heat pumps.  Caution, for heat pumps to be profitable on Swan’s Island the price of heating oil needs to be above $3.00 per gallon.

Heat pump technology information session sponsored by the Island Institute.  This link allows you to view the session which was both attended and joined on-line.   You can use the second link to submit questions about the session.



Community Alternative Energy Programs and Grants


 Dozens of communities across Maine are receiving federal grants totaling nearly $5 million to be applied toward energy efficiency projects.  The Maine Public Utilities Commission’s Efficiency Maine program says it has awarded the federal stimulus grants to 87 cities and towns.  The bulk of the grants will pay for weatherization work and heating system retrofits at municipal buildings. Other projects include solar and wind power installations and energy audits.


These articles show something of what is already being done nearby in Maine. Belfast Co-housing and Eco Village also has good info on their experiences.


Long NYT article on Samso Island trip participated in by representatives from Maine islands, including Tom McAloon.  Samso is an island off of Denmark which has become energy self sufficient through alternative energy applications.  See also Tom’s report on this site. 


A few lead sentences from this article.  Do the solar panels on your roof produce more power than you use? Gridmates wants to help you donate the excess energy to help those in need. If you have solar panels on your roof that produce more power than you can use, here's an idea for what you might do with the surplus.

Community Energy Action Team (CEAT) holds webinars on community action to take advantage of solar energy and other alternative energy options.


Midcoast Green Collaborative - This Damariscotta based organization promotes green policies and programs in the region.



Describes solar energy gardens that participating communities buy into.  The gardens feed electricity to the local power grid. Participating customers subscribe to that power and get credit on their utility bills, with contracts that typically lock in for 25 years and shelter against rate increases.

Article showing how community solar systems have grown and evolved to include many different designs and structures.  These include utility led community solar programs, now growing rapidly. 

Energy Conservation

A retired engineer's solar-panel-equipped home in Oakland, ME produces more electricity than it uses, feeds some back into the grid and dramatically reduces costs. Article asks, can we integrate this model on a wide scale?  Discusses promise and obstacles.

Nancy Carter interviewed about Home Energy Answers services to find ways to conserve home energy on Swans and other Maine Islands. 

Electric Cars


eM1400: electric utility meets power and performance

Electric vehicle by GM charges on any 110 socket, good for 45 miles with max speed of 35 mph. 

Sustainable Water Heating

Sustainable water heating alternatives in off grid and self sufficient living environments. 





Energy Storage

Pioneering woman owned and led energy storage company thinking out of the box.  

Wind Power

Denmark on track to get 50% of its electricity from wind by the end of the decade and be fuel free by 2050.

US Department of Energy report on wind-power in the US.  Report, over 270 pp. says that within 35 years, wind power could be providing 35% of U.S. energy. 

Home Energy Market

Home energy market is growing rapidly.  Now 120 players are involved, including tech companies, energy retailers, service providers, utilities and investors.  See full report at:



Politics of Alternative Energy

Governor Paul LePage is making an aggressive push away from the renewable energy policies of his predecessor, John Baldacci, as he looks to open the door to more hydropower from Canada and natural gas to bring down Maine's electricity costs.

A new law recently passed in France mandates that all new buildings that are built in commercial zones in France must be partially covered in either plants or solar panels.