On January 17, 2019, Keene became the fifth municipality in New Hampshire to commit to a 100% renewable energy goal. By a vote of fourteen to one, the city council committed the city is to get 100% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030 and to get 100% of its energy, including transportation and heat, from renewable sources by 2050.
As it happens, one small but important step in the work of getting to that goal was already underway when the city council voted. Encore Renewable Energy was installing a solar photovoltaic array with a capacity of just over 123 kilowatts (DC) on the rooftop of an old commercial building at 160 Emerald Street. The system is Encore’s first commercial solar project in New Hampshire. Encore was awarded a grant by the Public Utilities Commission to help maximize the financial returns to the project owner. As this is written, the array is nearly complete.
The system has 357 Hanwa Qplus panels, each of 345 watts. It has two Solectria PVI 50TL inverters. The racks are by Panel Claw.
Over the 25-year life of the project, it will offset about 2,375 metric tons of carbon dioxide. This is the equivalent of avoiding burning 2.6 million pounds of coal or eliminating 5.8 million miles of automotive driving.
Encore Renewable Energy is based in Burlington, Vermont. It has a proven track record of reclaiming undervalued real estate for community-scale photovoltaic systems. Its web site is encorerenewableenergy.com.
The Flexible Capital Fund of Vermont (Flex Fund), Coastal Enterprises of Maine, and New Hampshire Community Loan Fund recently announced a joint investment of $1 million in Encore. The investment will provide permanent working capital, which will enable Encore to make targeted new hires to support their ongoing geographic expansion in the Northeast. The financing is a collaboration of three New England Community Development Financial Institutions, a model which the Flex Fund would like to encourage more use of, to align values and missions.