Island Updates


Infrastructure Update

Post by Silas Rogers, Sustainability & Infrastructure Intern

Installing new windows and re-shingling the boathouse

Hurricane Island is a very busy place, and the summer season is in full swing. Not everyone on the island is involved in programs, however. It is essential to keep the island infrastructure in good shape, and Harbor Builders, of Rockport, Maine, have been commuting by boat to the island to carry out improvements to some of Hurricane’s existing buildings. They are installing new windows in the Boathouse, and re-shingling the exterior. The crew is dedicated, and accepts the challenges of working on the island. Working from an off-grid power source, scheduling commutes around weather conditions, working around programs, and getting materials to the island are a few of the complications the job entails.

Jim “Jimbo” Bernardo and his crew have not only made improvements to the Boathouse, but they have replaced the pier planking with new hemlock, are re-shingling a few of the cabins, and most recently they installed a new double door and screen at the north end of the Galley.

Installing the new inverter

Electricians from Rideout Electric worked July 7th to update and improve the solar electric system by installing a new Outback Power Systems 48 volt inverter to power the main buildings. The new system replaced the two 24 volt inverters of the old system, and twenty new AGM batteries replaced the old battery bank, allowing the system to operate at its full capacity of eight kilowatts. One benefit of the Outback inverter is that it can wirelessly controlled from a laptop, tablet, or smart phone, and data can be recorded very accurately.

The island also recently acquired a large wood chipper, on loan from Chip Bauer, a long time supporter of Hurricane Island and co-owner of Harbor Builders. The chipper, powered by a six-cylinder Ford engine, is a very effective way to break down brush, which is then spread on roads and trails.

Island improvements are well on track, and the buildings and grounds are improving little by little, with the help of these friendly people!

Harbor Builder Crew L-R: Ben "BP" Pomeroy, Ben "Okie" Oaks,  Jim "Jimbow" Bernardo, Mark "Putsky" Bowden

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We are Ready for some Sunshine!

Yesterday, Thursday, April 10, Sam and I finished installing the solar panels on the roof of the boathouse! The full array can generate 6 KW, and it powers our kitchen, galley, and the boathouse. This array will help us continue to operate with minimal fossil fuel dependency. It was a beautiful, sunny day on Hurricane, and we are excited to continue to prepare the island for our upcoming season.

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New Solar Array Mounted on the Boathouse


In the fall of 2013 we continued to develop our power system by moving the solar panels from a portable rack-mounted system to a permanent roof-mounted array on the south-facing roof of the boathouse. This will allow us to maintain access to energy production year-round and provide us with opportunities to develop other systems and programs that rely on the power that is produced in every month of the year.

In early October 2013, a construction crew from Harbor Builders Associates put a new roof on the boathouse in preparation for the solar panel mounting rack and began renovating a room in the boathouse that became the “control center” for the power system. The control center is intended not only as a functional space for monitoring and maintaining the system components, but also as an educational resource to teach others about how this system works. 

Later in October, Hurricane Island staff Sam Hallowell, with the expertise of Trevor Reiff from Lyman Technologies and with the help of Ben Hoops, installed the roof-mounted rack and began installing and wiring the solar panels.  We expect that the system will be functional by the time that we open the island early in the spring 2014.

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