News

MTI Grant Funds CEI to Purchase Scallop Farming Machines

May 20, 2016–Coastal Enterprises, Inc.’s (CEI’s) Fisheries Project was recently awarded a $134,189 MTI Cluster Grant to purchase and test three scallop aquaculture machines from a Japanese company as part of an on-going collaborative effort to develop scallop farming in Maine.  For the past six years, CEI has been working in partnership with Maine Sea Grant and the Friends of Aomori,[Japan], to further the development of a Maine scallop farming industry by leveraging a sister-state relationship Maine has had with Aomori Prefecture since 1994.

Scallops

Over a two year period CEI will work with the Portland based Maine Scallop Company to demonstrate the financial feasibility of growing sea scallops using the Japanese “ear-hanging” technique. Receipt of this grant will allow CEI to complete one of the most important elements of the project, the purchase of equipment that will reduce labor and increase volume to make scallop farming profitable for Maine shellfish farmers.  In addition, part of the MTI funds will be used to explore the possibility of establishing an equipment sharing agreement with other shellfish farms.

“MTI’s grant and the subsequent purchase of the three machines will allow us to take our scallop farming demonstration project to a commercial level,” said Peter Stocks, co-owner of the Maine Scallop Company. “As with any business, scale is key to generating a solid financial return – this equipment will allow us to mechanize much of the front end labor required to suspend and grow scallops in the water column. Another machine will clean the biofouling off of scallop shells to help increase growth rates. We anticipate the equipment drastically reducing our labor costs. It’s the equivalent of going from tilling soil by hand to tilling soil with a tractor.”

In Maine, wild scallop seed “spat” is collected in the fall and transferred to trays and bottom cages to confine and protect juveniles from predators as they grow. To date in Maine, the growing of sea scallops to harvest size has primarily been conducted in cages and trays. The ear-hanging method used in Japan is far superior because it allows scallops to benefit from maximum flows of seawater and, subsequently, nourishment from phytoplankton, resulting in faster growth. The ear-hanging method is more labor intensive and without automation is cost prohibitive. Maine Scallop Company currently has a crop of scallops on ear-hung lines in Casco Bay and growth rates have exceeded expectations.

Further up the coast on the Damariscotta River—the heart of Maine’s farmed oyster industry—Maine Sea Grant’s Dana Morse is observing growth rates, biofouling, water temperature and ultimately assessing the yield and market value of ear-hung scallop meats. “Since early March of this year we are already seeing very strong growth rates with scallops that are deeper in the water column. This will probably slow down as the water warms but we’re very optimistic,” said Morse. Additional ear-hung grow out trials are scheduled to begin on other farms this summer.

Sea scallops are among the most lucrative commercial marine species caught in the United States. In 2015, the Maine wild caught scallop season witnessed prices at $12 – $16 per lb. Scallops are a high-value crop, they grow well in Maine’s coastal waters, and a growing market exists for the already half-billion dollars’ worth of scallops harvested from the US wild fishery. Maine’s established shellfish aquaculture industry is primarily made up of oysters, mussels and clams. “We see this as an opportunity to add another species to what Maine growers are already offering. I’m growing oysters now, if the project goes as planned, scallops will offer a way to firm up the economics of my business,” said Dr. Mark Green, co-owner of the Maine Scallop Company and Professor at Saint Joseph’s College.

In October of this year, a twelve member group of shellfish aquaculture professionals from Maine will visit Japan for intensive hands-on learning about Aomori’s well established scallop aquaculture industry.  The intensive one week tech transfer will include visits with a series of marine scientists, private business, fishing cooperatives and government officials, as well as the company from which CEI will purchase the three automated machines.

This international technology transfer will allow Maine to benefit from the well established Japanese method of farming sea scallops. “Japan has been successfully growing and harvesting sea scallops for 85 years,” said Hugh Cowperthwaite, Director of Fisheries Project at CEI and the driving force behind this initiative.  “Trial and error coupled with research and development can be prohibitively expensive, this project will allow us to witness first hand the successful technology used in Japan and with the purchase of the machines, we will then be able to apply what we’ve learned and bring the opportunity back to Maine.” The expected result will be that Maine shellfish aquaculture companies will benefit from a reduction of labor costs, and an increase in the scale and profitability of scallop farming.

The Maine Department of Marine Resources currently lists 110 standard aquaculture lease holders in Maine, 28 of which are permitted to grow scallops. Yet only a handful of the farms are presently working with scallops. “We believe a scallop industry could thrive in Maine if we introduce, refine and adapt the Japanese technology currently in use. Sea farmers and fishermen are looking for ways to diversity their income and continue to work on the water. It’s no secret that some of Maine’s wild caught fisheries continue to decline and as an industry we are very dependent on the lobster fishery. On top of that, about 90% of the seafood consumed in the United States is now imported. We need to be proactive and address the challenges before us” said Cowperthwaite.

About Maine Sea Grant
The Maine Sea Grant College Program and the University of Maine Cooperative Extension are one of 33 NOAA Sea Grant programs throughout the coastal and Great Lakes states. Dana Morse is based at the Darling Marine Center in Walpole on the Damariscotta River. Dana’s expertise includes education, outreach, technology transfer and applied research programs in aquaculture and commercial marine fisheries. For more information visit http://www.seagrant.umaine.edu/

About Maine Scallop Company
Maine Scallop Company is a joint business of Dr. Mark Green, a professor of Oceanography at Saint Joseph’s College and the owner of Basket Island Oyster Company. Peter Stocks is the Executive Manager of Calendar Island Mussel Company.  Together Peter and Mark have been growing scallops in Casco Bay using the “ear-hanging” technique over the last two years.

Rob Wilson of C7a Financing on the Real Value of a Personal Guarantee

May 12, 2016–Rob Wilson, President of CEI 7(a) Financing LLC offers his expertise in Fit Small Business’s recently published article which answers the questions: What is a personal guarantee? And how do I negotiate one? This is great advice for anyone seeking a loan, particularly first-time borrowers!

Harvesting Economic Impact: CEI Capital Management Collaborates to Award $650,000 to The Town of Grand Lake Stream

May 4, 2016 – Collaboration among CEI Capital Management, the Town of Grand Lake Stream, Northern Forest Center, The Lyme Timber Company LP., Downeast Lakes Land Trust, Bangor Savings Bank & US Bancorp preserves forestland, way of life 

(Grand Lake Stream, Maine – May 2, 2016) The Town of Grand Lake Stream has been granted $650,000 to apply to future housing, economic development, and community facilities projects that sustain the traditional jobs and way of life for this rural community.

The grant, announced by CEI Capital Management today, is the last phase of a 2009 New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) financing here that protected 22,000 acres of forestland to support the outdoor recreation industry, including sporting camps and lodges and professional guiding. It is an industry that is central to the economic way of life in the Downeast Lakes Region of Maine.

As one of the community benefits incorporated into the NMTC financing, The Lyme Forest Fund (an investment fund sponsored by The Lyme Timber Company LP) donated a total of 132 acres of land to the Town for the development of light industry and housing, and the Town was able to purchase an additional 50 acres at a discount for future mixed use development.  The new $650,000 grant to the Town was made possible by the successful repayment of the NMTC financing.

For the residents of Grand Lake Stream, a small community in Washington County, the newly announced grant equips them to maintain control of their destiny.  “This entire project has been a big win for the Town, and the grant is an important component that will play a huge role in securing the Town’s future,” said Louis Cataldo, First Selectman of the Town of Grand Lake Stream. “The project gave us land to enable us to expand, and the grant provides the resources to make that a reality. Among other things we look forward to creating jobs for local residents, promoting residential development to attract young families to move into the town, and creating a senior citizens housing project for current and future residents.”

Cataldo added: “We are grateful to CEI Capital Management, the Northern Forest Center, Lyme Timber, and the other partners for everything they have done to make this all happen.”

The New Markets Tax Credit Financing in 2009 made possible the acquisition by The Lyme Forest Fund of the 22,000-acre West Grand Lake Forest, and included an option agreement between The Lyme Forest Fund and the Downeast Lakes Land Trust to purchase working forest conservation easements and ultimately the land itself to establish a Community Forest. CEI Capital Management used its tax credit allocation to put the financing together. The Northern Forest Center worked with the partners to facilitate development of the financing as well as helping with details relating to the new $650,000 grant. Bangor Savings Bank and U.S. Bancorp also participated as partners in the original financing.

“This project would not have happened without a collaboration with the Northern Forest Center Downeast Lakes Land Trust, and Lyme Timber who uniquely understand how the livelihood of the entire community here is connected to the forest and companion outdoor recreation industry,” said CEI Capital Management CEO Charlie Spies. “We worked with those parties to develop community benefits that the local people truly supported. The entire project complements other economic development projects in the region such as the recent expansion of St. Croix Tissue, where new direct jobs related to this forest economy beget others in the value chain.”

The acquisition of the West Grand Lake Forest by The Lyme Forest Fund protected the land against development and subdivision, which could have changed the complexion of a region that is deeply intertwined with its forest based economy. That protection was secured when working forestland conservation easements were put on the land in 2012.

The conservation easement ensures public access to the recreation area, popular for hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, hiking, canoeing and other recreational activities, in perpetuity, thus sustaining jobs in the local outdoor recreation industry.  At the same time, it makes certain that the lands will continue to be sustainably managed for forest products.

The Downeast Lakes Land Trust is working to complete its fundraising to enable it to purchase the West Grand Lake Forest and establish it as a Community Forest.

About CEI Capital Management
CEI Capital Management creates and preserves jobs and improves quality of life in rural, low income communities by providing access to project capital through New Markets Tax Credits. Over 10 years, CEI Capital Management has placed nearly $909.6 million of allocation in 89 different projects across the U.S. In addition to fiscal soundness, CEI Capital Management evaluates each project according to its benefit to the local community, economic gain and positive impact on the environment. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of CEI, the Maine-based nonprofit community development financial institution which was among the founders of this important federal economic development program. For more information, visit our website at http://www.ceicapitalmgmt.com or our YouTube channel for short video clips on how we use the program.

About the Northern Forest Center
The Northern Forest Center is a nonprofit organization that builds economic and community vitality while fostering sound forest stewardship across the Northern Forest of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York.  For more information, visit https://northernforest.org/

About The Lyme Timber Company LP
The Lyme Timber Company is a private timberland investment management organization that focuses on the acquisition and sustainable management of lands with unique conservation values. Since its founding in 1976, the Company has followed a disciplined and value oriented investment approach and has conserved over 1 million acres of timberland in the US and Canada. For more information, visit: http://www.lymetimber.com/

MEDIA CONTACT:  Christen Graham 207-838-0082

Link to the original article

CEI Participates in Historic Community Benefit Agreement Announcement with KeyBank and NCRC

April 13, 2016 — Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) joined the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) and KeyBank in Washington, DC, on March 18 for the signing of a landmark $16.5 billion community benefits agreement. The KeyBank 2017 National Community Benefits Plan, signed at the 2016 NCRC Annual Conference, is the largest of its kind in recent bank merger and acquisition history. Laura Buxbaum, CEI’s Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Resource Development, participated in the signing with KeyCorp’s Chairman and CEO Beth Mooney and NCRC’s President and CEO John Taylor, along with community leaders from New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Oregon.

“CEI was pleased to be at the table for these discussions and help to negotiate an agreement that will benefit low-income people and communities throughout KeyBank’s footprint,” said Laura Buxbaum. “The specific impacts on Maine remain to be seen, but CEI is committed to working with Key and other Maine partners who serve low-income communities to craft programs and investments that will help Key meet its ambitious goals and will result in direct benefit to the people who need it most. The commitment includes mortgage, small business and community development lending, and philanthropy in low- and moderate-income (LMI) communities. It will be carried out over five years, beginning in 2017.”

“KeyBank’s 2017 National Community Plan sets forth a significant and bold enterprise-wide strategy to help our clients and communities thrive. This agreement was mutually built – and will be mutually supported – by NCRC members and KeyBank,” said Sterling Kozlowski, president, Maine Market, KeyBank.  “When crafting the plan, it was of utmost important to keep local residents, organizations, and businesses at the forefront, including the residents of Maine.”

A summary of the agreement can be found here.

“Working Mainers are suffering from the recession and ongoing loss of traditional manufacturing jobs,” said CEI President and CEO Ron Phillips. “KeyBank has been an essential building block in CEI’s history of creating economic opportunity through access to flexible capital among entrepreneurs, and in rural regions in need of investment and support. The CBA will be a welcome resource throughout Key’s market regions, in Maine and elsewhere, and CEI hopes to bring forward jobs-creating projects that fulfill the purposes of the program and help stabilize Maine families.”

“This commitment is the result of a collaborative process with community members and bank leaders after months of give and take, resulting in a substantive and detailed commitment of resources and services to communities throughout the KeyBank and First Niagara Bank footprints,” said NCRC President and CEO John Taylor. “This success would have been impossible without the leadership of the highest ranks of the bank making a genuine commitment to increase banking access to traditionally underserved people. We applaud the leadership of KeyCorp’s Chairman and CEO Beth Mooney and Executive Vice President and Head of Corporate Responsibility Bruce Murphy for encouraging a commitment that is a real win for everyone involved.”

In addition to NCRC, KeyBank, and CEI, the agreement was signed by the following organizations:

Avillage

Community Loan Fund of the Capital Region

New York State Rural Housing Coalition

Affordable Housing Partnership

Empire Justice Center

United North

Casa of Oregon

Greater Rochester Community Reinvestment Coalition

PathStone

City of Dayton Human Relations Council

Miami Valley Fair Housing Center

Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Cleveland

Ohio Fair Lending Coalition

PUSH Buffalo

Housing Research & Advocacy Center

VOICE-Buffalo

Dayton YWCA

Working in Neighborhoods

Niagara Organizing Alliance for Hope

Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley

Home Repair Resource Center

Western New York Law Center

Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group

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About CEI:
Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI), is a mission-driven lender and investor specializing in rural economic development in Maine and throughout the U.S. CEI combines financing, advising services and policy leadership to help create economically and environmentally healthy communities in which all people, especially those with low incomes, can reach their full potential. Learn more at www.ceimaine.org.

About KeyCorp:
Key traces its history back more than 160 years and is headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio. One of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies, Key has assets of approximately $95 billion. Key (NYSE:KEY) provides deposit, lending, cash management and investment services to individuals, small and medium-sized business under the name KeyBank National Association. Key also provides a broad range of sophisticated corporate and investment banking products, such as merger and acquisition advice, public and private debt and equity, syndications and derivatives to middle market companies in selected industries throughout the United States under the KeyBanc Capital Markets trade name.Banking products and services are offered by KeyBank National Association. Key.com is a federally registered service mark of KeyCorp. ©2015 KeyCorp. KeyBank is Member FDIC. Credit applications are subject to credit approval.

About NCRC:
NCRC and its grassroots member organizations create opportunities for people to build wealth. We work with community leaders, policymakers and financial institutions to champion fairness in banking, housing and business development.

Family-Owned Wharf in Tenants Harbor Receives Working Waterfront Protection, Provides Commercial Fishing Access

April 8, 2016 — A significant property in Tenants Harbor was today added to the growing list of commercial waterfront properties protected by Maine’s Working Waterfront Access Protection Program, part of Land for Maine’s Future Program. Millers’ Wharf is nestled at the head of Tenants Harbor and owned by four brothers, all of whom are commercial fishermen. The wharf currently serves lobstermen, scallopers, urchin boats and seaweed harvesters. Over the years, landings have included shrimp and ground fish.

With the ink not yet dry on the working waterfront covenant, Hale Miller, who spearheaded the effort to secure the Working Waterfront protection on behalf of his brothers, had returned to his shop where he was readying his seaweed harvester for launching. “With the working waterfront funds, my brothers and I can now be assured that this property will be kept as commercial working waterfront for fishermen in the community as well as generations of Millers who want to continue in the commercial fishing business,” said Miller. “My parents worked hard to keep this property as a working waterfront, now, despite increased pressure along the coast from developers, this property will continue to provide access for commercial fishermen for generations.” Four generations of Millers have fished from the wharf.

Since the four brothers inherited the property from their parents in 2002, they have undertaken considerable improvements to the wharf including dredging to provide access for loading bait and unloading catch regardless of tide and the addition of four hydraulic hoists to increase efficiencies. Millers’ Wharf currently supports over 100 people engaged in commercial fishing activities including lobstermen and sternmen, urchin divers and student license holders.

“Fishing is a big part of the community in this area,” said Victor Cole who fishes off the wharf. “I’ve fished off quite a few wharves over the years and this is one of the best maintained wharves I’ve seen. The fact that it will be here for future commercial use is significant – much of the economy on the peninsula is tied to commercial fishing and that can’t happen without access.”

In exchange for the working waterfront covenant, which ensures the wharf owners cannot develop or use the property for anything other than commercial working waterfront activities, the state will pay $250,000, an amount determined by a standardized working waterfront property appraisal. “Those funds will allow us to increase the operating efficiency of the business on the wharf,” said Miller. “That will bring the operating costs down which will benefit all the fishermen who use the wharf,” Miller noted.

The Miller Family

The Miller Family

The Working Waterfront Access Protection program is administered by Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI), which provides technical assistance to owners of commercial fishing access properties applying to the Working Waterfront Access Protection Program. “We have worked with the Miller family for over a decade on a variety of projects,” said Dick Clime, Project Developer for CEI. “Having Millers’ wharf preserved as working waterfront is a significant win for this small fishing community. It’s these communities that, when you string them together, make up Maine’s coastal economy and create thousands of jobs.”

The Department of Marine Resources administers the program for the state. “I’ve come to know and admire this family during my time as Commissioner. Their commitment to maintaining this property for commercial access is just another testament to their dedication to this critically important industry,” said Patrick Keliher, DMR Commissioner and Chair of the Land for Maine’s Future Board.

With 25 projects in the program, the protected commercial fishing properties total more than 42 acres and occupy almost 1.5 miles of Maine shorefront. Cumulatively the properties service 940 boats, 1680 fishermen, and provide economic support for at least 1,730 families. Nearly 21.4 million pounds of seafood are landed at the properties annually and are worth about $49.2 million dockside.

“Protecting the working waterfront is critical to our state and coastal economies,” said Josh Miller, a third generation Miller who also is chair of the Lobster Advisory Council. “I learned to fish from my grandfather and my father off this wharf, and now I’m teaching my two young girls the trade. It’s reassuring to know this wharf will always remain an active fishing wharf not only for my girls, but for the community as a whole.”

About Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI)
Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) is a mission-driven lender and investor specializing in rural economic development in Maine and throughout the U.S. CEI combines financing, advising services and policy leadership to help create economically and environmentally healthy communities in which all people, especially those with low incomes, can reach their full potential.

CEI supports small and medium-sized businesses; natural resource-based industries from the farm, fishery, aquaculture, forestry, renewable energy, and nature-based tourism sectors; and community facility, commercial real estate, and affordable housing development. CEI’s involvement in Maine’s fisheries, aquaculture, and marine trades sectors spans 38 years. In 1977 when the reauthorization of the Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act established a 200-mile fishery conservation zone with Regional Fishery Management Councils, CEI committed to investment in, and outreach to, the industry.

About Land for Maine’s Future
For more than two decades, the Land for Maine’s Future Program has helped citizens protect the character of their towns and open spaces: Maine voters established the Land for Maine’s Future Program to secure public access for recreation, to conserve our most important habitats, to preserve Maine’s farming traditions and to protect the natural infrastructure vital to both our sense of place and our economic future.

The program has protected working farms and forests, ocean access, trails for snowmobiles, hikers, and bikers, and pristine lakes, ponds, and rivers. Since its beginnings in 1987, the Land for Maine’s Future Program has played a critical role in the conservation of some of State’s most special places.

Ron Phillips Receives NCRC’s Senator William Proxmire Award

On March 17, at NCRC’s Annual Conference, CEI President and CEO Ron Phillips was awarded the Senator William Proxmire Award. This award recognizes the individual whose life’s work exemplifies the spirit and work of Senator Proxmire’s contributions to economic mobility. Senator Proxmire was the author and lead sponsor of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA).

NCRC Ron

Ron Phillips receives Senator William Proxmire Award from NCRC

NCRCJohnTaylor and Ron

NCRC President and CEO John Taylor and Ron Phillips

“The incredibly important work NCRC has done as the watchdog of CRA has been among if not the most important tool of our work in community development,” said Ron Phillips. “The leadership of John Taylor, his board and many here who represent the history and diversity and goals of economic inclusivity of our roots, extend back to the civil rights period 50 years and more. I’m honored to be recognized both by this social justice community that defines so much of CEI’s formation, growth and impact in Maine, and especially rural development, with now a national presence in other nonmetro communities in the U.S.”

 

Norway Savings Bank Announces $300,000 Equity Equivalent Loan to CEI to Help New Mainers

April 4, 2016 — Norway Savings Bank contributes to several non-profit agencies that help new immigrants integrate and prosper in Maine. In 2015, the bank contributed approximately $20,000 to various Southern Maine agencies that provide programs and support from legal advocacy and financial literacy training, to helping young children of new immigrants aspire to higher vocational and college education. “We try to direct these contributions in ways that will help new Mainers gain knowledge and skills while at the same time grow and thrive in our communities,” said Pat Weigel, President & CEO.

The Bank recently made a $300,000 Equity Equivalent (EQ2) loan to Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) to support access to capital for new Mainers. Headquartered in Brunswick, CEI provides an array of advising services and financing solutions for thousands of Mainers every year, including a number of borrowers who, for many reasons including religious restrictions, may be unable to access capital from a bank to start and grow their businesses. The loan from Norway Savings Bank, which will ultimately be repaid, provides flexibility to CEI in structuring loans for small businesses with a variety of needs. “This is a unique financing opportunity in Maine, and our investment will help create greater access to small business loans,” said Weigel.

Hussein Ahmed of Global Halal Market in Lewiston has received loans and business advising from CEI’s StartSmart program, and appreciates the range of financing options available from the mission-driven lender and investor, because they “help business owners who would otherwise have no loan options for starting businesses.” StartSmart, one of CEI’s targeted business advising programs, provides free, confidential business advice for new Mainers looking to start or expand a business in Maine.

About Norway Savings Bank
Founded in 1866, Norway Savings Bank is a leading mutual banking and financial services company headquartered in Norway, Maine. As of December 31, 2015, Norway Savings Bank had $1.026 billion in total assets and provided financial services to over 43 thousand households throughout western and southern Maine. Norway Savings Bank has 24 branch locations and operates divisions in asset management, personal banking and business banking. In 2013, Norway Savings Bank was awarded the Governor’s Award for Business Excellence and was honored as one of the Best Banks to Work For by American Banker and Best Companies Group. Norway Savings bank has been recognized as one of the healthiest companies in America by the Wellness Council of America (WELCOA) as a two-time Gold-Level Well Workplace award recipient and has been acknowledged as one of the strongest banks in the nation after receiving a 5-Star Superior rating for over 100 consecutive quarters from BauerFinancial, Inc., the nation’s leading independent bank and credit union rating and research firm. For more information, visit www.norwaysavingsbank.com. 

About Coastal Enterprises, Inc.
Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) is a mission-driven lender and investor specializing in rural economic development in Maine and throughout the U.S. CEI combines financing, advising services and policy leadership to help create economically and environmentally healthy communities in which all people, especially those with low incomes, can reach their full potential.

CEI supports small and medium-sized businesses; natural resource-based industries from the farm, fishery, aquaculture, forestry, renewable energy, and nature-based tourism sectors; and community facility, commercial real estate, and affordable housing development. Learn more at www.ceimaine.org.

CEI Ventures Expands Fund Portfolio with Pika Energy Investment

Renewable energy manufacturer Pika Energy is the fourth company added to CEI’s new fund

April 4, 2016 – CEI Ventures, Inc., the for-profit venture capital subsidiary of CEI, announces the initial closing of its fourth fund, Coastal Ventures IV, and the fund’s first investment in Pika Energy, Inc. This investment in the clean energy manufacturer advances CEI’s socially responsible fund portfolio.

Coastal Ventures IV held its initial closing of $7.2 million in December 2015 with a targeted capitalization of $25 million. Additional closings will be planned for later this year. The fund targets job creation for people with low incomes and socially beneficial products and services.

Westbrook, Maine-based Pika Energy, founded in 2010 by MIT-trained engineers, manufactures solar and wind products using a patented bus that acts as an “energy operating system” to automate the flow of clean power. The company, which has won five Department of Energy awards, recently announced its new product line that enables simplified solar-plus-battery configurations for clean backup power and energy arbitrage.

“Pika Energy uses U.S.-based manufacturing to make environmentally beneficial products, and is an excellent example of a company furthering the values and mission of the Coast Ventures IV LP fund,” said Nat Henshaw, President of CEI Ventures.

Ben Polito, co-founder and CEO of Pika Energy added, “It’s thrilling to be working with Coastal Ventures, a firm that shares our vision for making renewable energy affordable, attractive and mainstream.”

About CEI Ventures, Inc.
CEI Ventures manages socially responsible venture capital funds. The company was founded in 1994 to mobilize private capital markets while advancing social goals. To date, CEI Ventures has raised four venture capital funds and have made $27 million in direct investments in nearly 50 companies. CEI Ventures is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI), a mission-driven lender and investor specializing in rural economic development in Maine and throughout the U.S. Learn more at www.ceiventures.com.

About Pika Energy, Inc.
Pika Energy, Inc. is a manufacturer of direct current (DC) power electronics. Headquartered in Westbrook, Maine, Pika Energy’s products include bi-directional, islanding inverters, battery charge controllers, DC solar optimizers, power converters, and certified small wind turbines. All Pika Energy products are powered by the REbus™ DC nanogrid. Pika Energy’s products provide grid-optional clean power that enables buildings to collect, store and self-consume energy from solar PV and wind sources. Learn more at http://www.pika-energy.com.