By Green Energy Times staff
Outdoor recreational facilities in the northeast are taking on the solar challenge. Two in New Hampshire are noteworthy. Both were built by ReVision Energy, which has offices in New Hampshire and Maine.
Copper Cannon Camp
A 13.52-kilowatt (kW) array went on the roof of the Copper Cannon Camp’s newly-constructed dining hall in Bethlehem, NH. The solar array will offset about 15,500 kilowatt hours (kWh) of the camp’s electricity and reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by over 14,000 pounds annually.
Copper Cannon offers tuition-free summer camp for children in need. Peter Christnacht, the camp’s executive director, said, “As a teaching tool, it will be a great educational opportunity. We want to incorporate aspects of it in with our farm-to-table garden plot and conservation activities.”
Copper Cannon plans to have campers monitor the power usage and provide daily updates on production and consumption as a learning experience. Christnacht hopes that doing so will help the campers become “able to connect the dots with energy generation and energy consumption.”
Copper Cannon Camp is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. It abuts the White Mountain National Forest. It offers traditional summer camp activities but also focuses on themes that encourage continued learning, healthy lifestyles and building social capital.
Appalachian Mountain Club
The Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) moved further toward its goal for reducing its carbon footprint by installing 240 solar electric modules and seven inverters outside AMC’s Cardigan Lodge in Alexandria, NH. The 73.2-kW, fixed ground mount is located next to the lodge, which is adjacent to Cardigan Mountain State Forest. The system was installed last December.
The grid-tied array was installed by ReVision Energy and is owned and operated by IGS Solar. The system was financed through a Power Purchase Agreement, which allows AMC to buy renewable power at a price below usual grid retail cost.
The array is expected to generate about 87,000 kWh each year. This reduces carbon dioxide emissions by the amount released by burning157 barrels of oil. The reduction is equivalent to the amount absorbed by 15 acres of pine trees.
Through group net metering, Three Mile Island Camp on Lake Winnipesaukee also benefits from the solar array at Cardigan Lodge. AMC will receive credit for the excess it produces and plans to share a portion of the credit with the camp.
AMC has a long history of minimizing environmental impacts in its operations. It has a goal of reducing its total carbon footprint 80% by 2050. Paul Cunha, AMC’s Vice President of Outdoor Operations, said, “The solar array is an important step in the effort to reach that goal by replacing carbon-emitting systems with sustainable, renewable energy systems.”
A number of AMC’s cabins, huts, and lodges have been recognized for environmental leadership. Eight in New Hampshire’s White Mountains have off-grid power. In Maine, the Gorman Chairback Lodge is one of only a handful of backcountry facilities in the nation to be LEED registered.
ReVision Energy is seeking organizations to form more partnerships. “The PPA is a powerful and innovative tool that allows towns, schools and non-profit organizations to install state-of-the-art renewable energy systems at no upfront cost that will generate clean energy and produce cost savings for decades and decades,” Jack Ruderman, Director of Community Solar Initiatives, said.