Honors College

Document Type

Honors Thesis


Ecology and Environmental Science


Sharon Klein

Committee Members

Megan Bailey, Jordan LaBouff, Linda Silka, Timothy Waring

Graduation Year

May 2020

Publication Date

Spring 5-2020


As we continue to feel the effects of climate change there is an increasing demand for clean energy to reduce the impact that the energy sector has on greenhouse gas emissions. An organization, A Climate To Thrive (ACTT), on Mount Desert Island (MDI) in Maine has made it their mission to make MDI energy independent by 2030 and are interested in the application of a community solar farm (CSF) as a means to help their low-tomoderate income (LMI) population transition to the use of solar power and reduce their energy burden. This study explores four scenarios, in conjunction with several financing mechanisms, to determine which CSF management scenario and financing techniques would be most accommodating of LMI needs that could otherwise inhibit this group from participating in renewable energy projects. These needs largely include a lack of financial flexibility, the inability to qualify for loans or tax credits, and the need to accommodate their homeownership status, which tends to be renters. To obtain these results a benefitcost analysis (BCA) was done that showed the system owner and subscriber NPV, ROI, and Payback Periods. These results showed that, overall, the most accommodating scenario for LMI subscribers would be a lease-to-own scenario. This option provides flexible financing for both the system owner and subscriber and has great potential to be a worthwhile investment for both parties.