Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) was founded in 1977 with a vision for economically and environmentally sustainable communities. CEI expands equitable access to capital, creates good jobs and supports environmentally sustainable businesses through financing, business advising and policy advocacy. Based in Maine, CEI works across the state and in rural regions and small gateway cities nationwide. In the last five years, 80% of investments by loan amount were to climate-smart businesses, with $27MM going to green businesses and $37MM to businesses reducing their environmental impact. These businesses created or retained 2,554 new or existing jobs.
Since entering the solar financing space, CEI has invested $25MM in solar finance projects in Maine and across New England to developers and installers including ReVision Energy, Maine Solar Solutions, and Sundog Solar. They’ve leveraged an additional $46MM to finance 40+ solar projects for small businesses, schools, municipalities, and non-profits. Together, these projects benefit workers, communities and business owners with low and moderate incomes.Borrower Story:
Borrower story: Tremont is a small island community in Maine that saw an opportunity to repurpose a capped landfill for a much greater and greener purpose. A loan from CEI to an affiliate of developer SunDog Solar, meant the town could install a 153 kW solar array on that capped landfill with no upfront cost to the town – instead paying for the power through a six-year lease agreement, after which the town can purchase the array outright. The interest rate on the loan was partially subsidized via a grant from The Nature Conservancy, the savings from which were passed on to the town in the lease agreement.
Since the array went live, the installation has generated enough electricity to power all of the town’s municipal buildings as well as the local school. The terms of the lease will save the town a minimum of $400,000 over a twenty-five-year period. Something town selectman Kevin Buck calls “a pretty significant amount of money saved for a town of sixteen hundred people.”
In addition to supporting a Maine-based solar developer’s growth, the Tremont project supports Mount Desert Island’s push toward energy independence by 2030 and serves as an example of solar adoption for other communities to follow. As part of a project at the high school, the students outlined the steps it takes to go solar, and the high school is getting inquiries from other schools regarding the installation. A community solar farm is slated for the remaining open land on top of the landfill. “We are providing an example of what can be done,” Buck said. “Every town on this island has moved forward on these projects.”
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