Poplar Hut is currently the only location within the Maine Huts & Trails network to have the infrastructure available for hydroelectric power. Because of this exclusivity in sustainable energy production, Poplar hut is an extra special destination for both visitors and workers.
Water intake for the system is in a small pond along South Brook. The pond lies just West of the bridge that takes hikers over South Brook, towards Poplar, via the Maine Huts Trail.
Once the water is filtered for larger particulates at the water intake location the water travels along the penstock approximately 750ft, to an elevation of 1223ft, through a 10in pipe to the powerhouse, which contains the mini-hydro unit. Because of the drop in elevation over the 750ft run, the water is flowing naturally through the pipe via gravity and therefore contains energy that can be extracted by the mini-hydro unit and easily supports the power needs of the Poplar Hut community.
The mini-hydro unit is sized to carry the bulk of power needs for Poplar as well as utilize the existing site infrastructure as efficiently as possible. The unit includes a minimal footprint that fits into the existing Powerhouse, the ability to harness straight water flow to minimize additional civil work and be an exclusive sustainable, learning component to those that visit and work at the Poplar Hut.
Poplar Hut currently operates using three energy sources: mini-hydro, solar panels (photovoltaic) and propane. These energy sources offer flexibility and redundancy for Poplar while also providing support for time periods when Poplar requires extra energy, such as breakfast and dinner periods. From the basement of the Main Hut, the hub where the energy is broken down into usable forms and stored for future use, hot water and electricity is dispersed to the major occupied areas of the Main Hut and also the three surrounding bunkhouses.