Freeport Self Storage in Freeport, Maine, went off the grid July 15 and is now electrically self-sufficient after installing solar panels, a wind turbine and a wood boiler. The self-storage facility shares a 17-acre parcel with the home of business owners Gary and Kelly Profenno and Kelly’s Island Girl Designs craft and gift shop.
Gary Profenno began installing solar panels on the roof of the storage facility in 2000 as a way to generate power to the 150 units comprised in separate buildings on the lot. What started with a handful of panels for lighting has evolved into a self-sustaining system that uses car batteries to store the power.
Although Profenno’s home, which is next to the storage business, has solar panels on its roof and is connected to the wind turbine, the house is still partially powered by Central Maine Power. Profenno estimated 30 to 35 percent of the home’s power comes from the solar panels. A wood boiler supplies heat to the house as well as a select number of storage units.
Although Profenno believes his investment in alternative energy is still larger than the amount of electrical savings he has generated thus far, he is confident the solar panels and wind turbine will pay for themselves over time.