December 5, 2013

Alan Caron: For solar power, Maine doesn’t lack sun as much as imagination

Germany and New Hampshire, where the economy is thriving, are promoting renewable energy. Why can’t we do the same?

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I was reminded of all this at a recent talk by Phil Coupe, co-founder of Maine’s largest solar installation company, ReVision Energy. Coupe is one of the successful entrepreneurs who’s been talking about the Maine economy at a series called “Pioneers of Maine’s Next Economy.” (See for details on future events, including the one next Wednesday with Corky Ellis of Kepware Technologies, which is a national leader in its field, based in Portland).

Coupe built a renewable energy company from two guys and a truck a few years back and now has almost 60 employees, selling not only solar but also pellet wood systems. He’s concerned about how we’re exporting money for energy, but also about millions of tons of carbon we’ve been throwing into the atmosphere. Because those so-called “greenhouse gas” emissions are tasteless, odorless and colorless, we’ve had a hard time coming to grips with what it all means. We can see garbage and sewage, and know how to handle both, but we still treat the “invisible” carbon emissions as though the sky is some kind of ever-expanding ashtray.

It’s long past time when Maine should dedicate itself to being a solar and renewable energy leader in America.

Alan Caron is president of Envision Maine, a nonprofit organization that promotes Maine’s next economy. He can be contacted at:


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