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Father and Son Open Solar Store in Searsport 

A father and son in Searsport are teaming up to make renewable energy more accessible for folks along the Midcoast. They hope their new venture will entice more people to give it a try.At the Sundog Solar Store on Main Street, you’re invited to come in and kick the tires on their products, whether you know a lot about renewable energy, or not.”The whole premise behind the store is that people can come in here and get an education in things they really haven’t had an opportunity to touch and feel before, or ask the kinds of questions they’d like to ask,” says Chuck Piper, president.They sell solar electric and hot water systems, energy efficient appliances and all sorts of conservation products…if you wanted to find out more about setting up a small wind turbine or even a composting toilet – you’ll find answers, here.”We had a hundred people here at our grand opening on Saturday and we’ve had people coming in nonstop since. So we’ve been received pretty well by the community,” Chuck says.”I think this is great,” says customer Gary Winders. He’s setting up an off-grid electrical system at a cabin in Jackson. “I think it’s a great way to see the demonstrations set up, so you can see the product. I think it’s terrific.”Before opening the store, Chuck Piper was a retired businessman with a background in environmental studies, looking for a new venture. He found it in the Sundog Solar Store.He says his son Danny, with a background in construction and a passion for the industry, was a natural fit as a partner.”I love working with my father. It’s really exciting for us to come back and reconnect. I like the idea that I’m being able to offer this to people in a way that makes a difference,” Danny says. “It’s really a means to making renewable energy, one, affordable and two, attainable,” he says.The store is part of a national cooperative called the USA Solar Store. They say this is only the second such location in Maine.