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Oakhurst Goes Solar

PORTLAND, Maine (April 10, 2008) — Today, Oakhurst Dairy announced they have begun installing a solar energy system in their Portland, Maine headquarters as part of the Company's continued efforts to reduce its carbon emissions. One the largest commercial systems in Maine and New England, there will be approximately 2,700 square feet of panels installed atop the building's roof that will create enough hot water in the milk facility to save up to 5,000 gallons of oil every year.

"We are committed to continually finding ways to make positive changes within our company and reduce our carbon footprint in support of our participation of the Governor's Carbon Challenge in Maine. Our goal is to provide a sustainable environment for future generations and leave the planet better than we found it," said Stan Bennett, President of Oakhurst Dairy. "Consumers essentially cast a vote every time they make a purchase. We are encouraging them to 'Vote Oakhurst' by making good purchasing decisions from companies that are socially responsible benefiting themselves, their families and their community."

"Oakhurst Dairy continues to set an example for exceptional environmental performance. Their leadership and success in finding real solutions is well demonstrated by this solar thermal system we celebrate now," said David Littell, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. "As recent as March 17th, Oakhurst was recognized for their achievements by a program my department oversees, the Maine Governor's Carbon Challenge, as not only one of the first Maine-based corporations to participate in the Carbon Challenge, but also for their already significant 12% reduction in reported carbon emissions."

"Maine has tremendous potential to reduce our dependency on costly, foreign oil and to improve our environment," Governor Baldacci said. "Whether it's solar, wind, tidal or innovative wood products, we must be aggressive in our pursuit of energy alternatives. Oakhurst is showing great leadership with its solar project, which further underscores the company's commitment to a cleaner planet and a stronger Maine."

Oakhurst is looking to extend the solar thermal program beyond their headquarters to the farms that provide their milk. Through the Solar Assist™ Dairy program, Oakhurst and Ascendant Energy are working closely with 16 local Oakhurst farms offering a similar solar energy system for their properties. Through low cost energy loans as well as rebates offered through Efficiency Maine and the Public Utilities Commission, the Solar Assist™ Dairy program provides an economical and environmental solution for farmers.

"Solar energy is delivered daily to our doorstep for free. Where Oakhurst Dairy is an established company in a northern climate, their commitment to solar legitimizes its role as an energy source," said Chris Straka, CEO of Ascendant Energy. "We are honored to provide solar to Oakhurst and its dairy farmers to help wean us from foreign oil dependency while addressing global warming at the local level."

The use of heated hot water from a natural resource offers a multitude of benefits including lower utility bills, energy independence and decreasing the need for oil imported from other countries. Additionally, as the boilers will be using 5,000 gallons less oil per year, the longevity for existing boilers will increase, creating further efficiencies.

"We commend Oakhurst on rising to the challenge and opportunity to reduce the carbon footprint of each gallon of milk, from the farm to the point of purchase as the milk is delivered to the store." said Bob Sheppard, Chief Operating Officer, Clean Air-Cool Planet. "Our hope is that more companies will follow Oakhurst's lead by making significant changes in their operations that reduce the impacts of global warming on our environment, health, economy and communities." Clean Air-Cool Planet is a science-based, non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated solely to finding and promoting solutions to global warming. CA-CP provides hands-on assistance to companies, campuses, communities and science centers to help them reduce their carbon emissions and demonstrate the economic opportunities and environmental benefits of action on climate change.

Ascendant Energy Company, Inc. has its headquarters in Rockland, Maine, USA. The company's mission is to develop markets for solar energy using innovative technology and financial solutions. Ascendant has numerous installations in commercial, institutional, and residential markets.

Oakhurst is Northern New England's largest, independent dairy company, with three generations of commitment to the health and wellbeing of the community and the environment. For 87 years, the Bennett family has stood behind every glass of milk, just another reason to choose the Natural Goodness of Maine. Oakhurst contributes 10% of profits to organizations that promote healthy kids and a healthy environment. For more information visit

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