One of the homes in the new, 13-lot Habitat for Humanity subdivision in Scarborough has been outfitted with 12 solar panels to fulfill all its energy needs. The panels will provide the owner family with not only electricity, but also hot water.

The panels were donated by ReVision Energy and will offset roughly 5,217 pounds of carbon dioxide annually, according to Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland, which is constructing the subdivision on town-owned land off Broadturn Road.

Chad Mullin, the construction manager for Habitat’s local chapter, said, “Our goal is to build simple and sustainable homes for folks in need of a decent and affordable place to live.”

He added, “Often times when people think of affordability, they assume we are talking about the purchase price of a home and it does. However, we also know that the people buying homes from us need (it) to be affordable to live in, i.e. to heat and maintain. In a time when energy prices can be volatile and unpredictable, including solar in our build will assist us in providing a home to a deserving family that is very affordable to live in.”

Mullin also said, “We here at Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland are very thankful for ReVision’s generosity and commitment to our project in Scarborough. This development will bring more affordable housing to the town at a time when housing prices continue to rise.”

Godfrey Wood, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland, said that for some time the group has been “exploring affordable ways to add solar power and reduce our carbon footprint.”

He said Habitat initially worked with ReVision Energy on evaluating the financial feasibility of making the entire neighborhood solar.

“As of now we have not been able to develop a financing source, however ReVision generously donated a solar hot water system and panels to generate electrical power on the first home in the project,” Wood said this week.

He said the goal of adding solar panels is to “demonstrate the benefits of solar, to reduce emissions and to lower the utility costs for our partner family. Our homeowner is thrilled to be the recipient of this advanced technology and pleased that her utility costs will be dramatically reduced.”

Wood also said, “We wish we had the resources to use solar on all the homes, but we accept this wonderful donation and whatever improvement it makes for the environment. Until Maine appraisers add the cost of solar to their property valuations, and consider the value of reduced utility costs as a measure of value to the homeowner, we are severely challenged in using alternative power sources” on Habitat projects.

The first house in Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland’s 13-lot subdivision in Scarborough is benefiting from the donation of solar panels, which will provide both electricity and hot water. 

The first home in the Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland’s new subdivision in Scarborough under construction this past winter.

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