Bald Head Cliff, outside Ogunquit, Maine, is a bit off the beaten path–and that’s part of its charm, attracting luxury travelers to The Cliff House Resort and Spa for well over 100 years now. But with that remote location come challenges, chief among them providing heat and hot water for guests. While the resort formerly employed propane for this purpose, its new solar thermal system has taken over the task.
Billed as one of Maine’s largest solar thermal systems, The Cliff House’s installation makes use of 2,100 tubes across 70 collectors–10 times the size of your average solar project. The solar installation is expected to save the resort an estimated 11,000 gallons of propane annually (30 percent of its fossil fuel consumption overall), reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by more than 140,000 pounds on an annual basis.
Representatives of the resort lauded the establishment’s eco-vision and commitment, of course, as did the builder on the project, Cimino Construction, which erected the structural steel framework that supports the solar collectors and supervised the project. John P. Cimino, owner and president of the company, said, in a statement, “This puts the Cliff House in front of any similar facility in the state of Maine. It shows they are very serious about securing alternative sources of energy. They’re environmentally conscious and they acted on it.”
A grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture as well as federal tax credits helped to take some of the pain out of the upfront costs of the solar thermal system for the resort, reducing the payback period to less than six years. And in good, self-reliant Northeast style, those funds went entirely to Maine-based businesses like Cimino, with general contracting services provided by Nelson & Small Energy Conservation Products, an affiliate of Nelson & Small, the contractor/installer for Kingspan Solar Thermal Systems.