NH Solar Shares Community Solar Array #3
TO BE LOCATED AT LAKES REGION CONSERVATION TRUST, CENTER HARBOR
Our vision is to build a NH Solar Shares community solar project in Center Harbor by June 2023.
We will “Share the Sun with our Neighbors” in a new region. The solar generation will go toward solar bill credits for 10 families/individuals in need of assistance with their electric bill. Participants will live in the Center Harbor, Holderness, Moultonboro and Sandwich, NH area. (In 2020 and 2021, NH Solar Shares community solar PV projects in Plymouth and Warren, NH generated $12,263 in solar energy bill credits for 21 low income NHEC members living in the those areas.)
The design will be environmentally-friendly wherever possible and the project will include planting pollinator flowers native to NH and low blueberry bushes. This new practice is known as agri-voltaics.
Our project will be an example of one that models integrating solar energy into a working landscape that compliments the land use practices for that particular location.
Our project will be organized with the help of a volunteer committee that includes potential participants, land conservationists, renewable energy advocates and others. To increase the community development and educational benefits of the project, the plan is to engage volunteers in the process of installing solar PV from start to finish as well as site design, plantings and site upkeep.
Thanks to the partnership and no-cost lease the ground mounted solar PV array will be located in the field behind the headquarters of the Lakes Region Conservation Trust on Rte 25B in Center Harbor. Other partners include the Center Harbor Energy Committee and Conservation Commission.
The solar PV system will be owned, insured, operated and maintained by NH Solar Shares. It will consist of 72 (485watt) solar panels. The ballasted structure is two panels high (in portrait) and is under 13 feet tall. It will have a separate account, meter and transformer that feeds the clean emission-free electricity on to the NH Electric Cooperative utility lines. The solar energy will be purchased through a PPA by NHEC and the value (85 – 100%) of the generated power will be credited to the electric bills of the Solar Shares’ participants. (To date NH Solar Shares has credited over 98% of the solar generation to participants.)
NH Solar Shares will recruit and determine eligibility for the participants as well as hold educational meetings for participants and program volunteers about solar energy and home energy savings. Participants take part in the program for two years and pay their solar share forward to new income-eligible participants. Participants will be encouraged to participate in blueberry bush picking and care as well as site maintenance on organized work days.
NH Solar Shares will coordinate and oversee the construction of the project in conjunction with the staff of the Lakes Region Conservation Trust and solar installer. All permitting will be prepared by NH Solar Shares and their contractors.
Project’s Environmental Benefits
The Center Harbor site for NH Solar Shares’ third community PV array was chosen because it was an existing field where tree removal was not needed. The site has a 97% Total Solar Resource Factor making the generation of solar electricity very effective. The array is made up of 72 (485w) solar PV panels totaling 35kWDC. It is estimated to generate 45,770kWH annually. If all of this solar electricity displaces fossil fuel generated electricity (date and time of the solar generation impacts this equation) it would save 70,488lbs of C02 each year.
Project Fundraising and Planning
NH Solar Shares will take the lead on raising funds for this project expected to cost $171,605. NH Solar Shares is a program of PAREI – a 501C-3 non-profit organization. Funds will be raised through private donors, foundations, public fundraisers, corporate sponsors and the State of NH Renewable Energy Fund incentives and grant programs. The land host will assist with raising money to help cover the cost of site prep, plantings and landscaping.