By Jack Munn
Solar Up NH is rolling and the sun is shining. Community and public interest in participating in the first solarize pilot project in the southern New Hampshire region is gaining momentum and things are happening. Since rolling out this new project, a total of seven communities have been selected to participate among the region’s fifteen municipalities. A request for information was released and six of the seven communities selected decided to work together to form a coalition in carrying out the two solarize campaigns. Each town selected a solar installer to work with among many businesses that were considered. The communities, solarize rounds, and installers are as follows:
Round One (June through September 2015)
The towns of Bedford and Goffstown will work together as a coalition working with NuWatt
The Town of Francestown will work with Milhouse Enterprises
Round Two (September through December 2015)
The towns of Derry and Chester will work together as a coalition working with Revision Energy
The towns of Candia and Deerfield will work together as a coalition working with Granite State Solar.
Since selecting these communities, the telephones and emails have been nonstop from residents asking for information and how they can sign up. The core local volunteer committees and leads have been established in each of the seven communities to organize and implement the solarize campaigns and public outreach events. If you have not heard of solarize and Solar Up NH, don’t worry — you will as this program is spreading fast.
The basic idea is to lower the cost of solarthrough group purchasing – the more people that sign up to go solar – the costs are lowered for everyone. Solar Up NH goals are to drive solar installation costs down 10 to 15 percent below market price and double the number of solar users in each community. This will be accomplished through local solarize marketing campaigns and media events promoting solar, to be carried out by the core local volunteer committees in each community. These local core groups will be helped by staff from the Southern NH Planning Commission, Smart Power (a national marketing company), the NH Sustainable Energy Association, and the Hillsborough County Area Renewable Energy Initiative (HAREI).
Most solarize programs are designed specifically for residential homeowners. However Solar Up NH is designed to also benefit small businesses, non-profit organizations, churches and farm enterprises, including municipalities. The solar installation model promoted is direct ownership, but other forms of solar ownership, including leasing and power purchase agreements willalso be considered. In addition, Solar Up NH will promote the use of solar loans and otherowner special financing.
Map image coming, caption:
Communities participating in the Solar Up program are highlighted. Photo credit: Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission
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