OLD ORCHARD BEACH — An Old Orchard Beach campground is one of the Maine businesses that are improving the energy efficiency of their outdoor lighting using incentives from Efficiency Maine. So far, more than 30 projects in public and outdoor spaces are receiving funding through the Parking and Pole Lighting Retrofit Initiative. The initiative was inspired by a desire to provide job opportunities for electrical contractors and supply houses during the restrictions imposed by COVID-19, according to an Efficiency Maine news release, since many outdoor lighting projects could be completed with limited physical interaction between customers and contractors.

The goal of the initiative is to offer enhanced incentives to accelerate the conversion to efficient LED lighting in Maine’s public and outdoor places. For many businesses and organizations this was an opportunity to maximize energy savings, and reduce area glare and overlighting (which may benefit neighboring property owners). The limited-time offer opened on April 14, and has been extended to Sept. 30, to give more businesses time to participate. Interested businesses can get more information about the Parking and Pole Lighting Retrofit Funding Opportunity Notice (FON) at the Efficiency Maine website.

“We are keenly interested in supporting projects that will sustain jobs during the pandemic,” said Michael Stoddard, executive director of the Efficiency Maine Trust. “Upgrading lighting in outdoor spaces seems like a safe place to do that.”

Eligible lighting projects include building exterior-mounted lights, walkways, parking lots, and street lighting (not utility-pole-mounted fixtures).

The opportunity is one that John Daigle, owner of Old Orchard Beach Campground, couldn’t pass up. Daigle, whose family has owned the campgrounds for 46 years, already had a project under way to replace the recreational area’s pool, which needed lighting. His electrician suggested he bundle that upgrade with one to address the campground entrance and registration area. The new LED lights will result in an estimated savings of 8,594 kWh, or more than $1,200 in the first year.

“Our electrician has been working with us for more than 30 years,” Daigle said. “He suggested we combine the two projects and apply for the Efficiency Maine incentives. The rebates really sealed the deal for me. We’re very pleased with the results. In many instances, people are arriving to the campground at night and this new, warmer lighting helps them see our entrance more easily from the road and keeps the area well lit for safety.”

“With these grants, businesses across Maine are upgrading their outdoor lighting, leading to lower energy usage and reduced costs,” said Dan Burgess, director of the Governor’s Energy Office. “This initiative further highlights how clean energy and energy efficiency can create jobs and stimulate Maine’s economy.”

Larger companies with several locations, such as Wendy’s, Hannaford, and LL Bean also are participating in the program. Wendy’s locations in Biddeford, Portland, Saco, Sanford, Scarborough, and Windham will upgrade exterior lighting that will save an estimated 150,000 kWh or more than $22,000 in the first year. Hannaford locations in Rumford, Madison, Waldoboro, and Houlton will see a more than 35,000 kWh and $5,300 combined estimated savings in the first year. And LL Bean’s Freeport and Brunswick locations will see a combined more than 185,000 kWh and $24,000 estimated first-year savings.

Efficiency Maine’s Commercial and Industrial Prescriptive Program, which funded the Parking and Pole Lighting Retrofit initiative, offers fixed incentives to reduce the cost of projects and to improve energy efficiency for businesses, municipalities, schools and higher education facilities, manufacturing and other industrial facilities, other non-residential facilities, and multifamily and condominium buildings with five or more units. Incentives for the initiative are calculated based on the amount of electricity saved by each project in the first year and are subject to a cap of 85% of the total project cost.

To learn more about the Efficiency Maine Prescriptive Program and how to maximize its benefits visit https://www.efficiencymaine.com/at-work/ci-prescriptive-incentive-program/

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