By George Harvey
This summer, the YMCA’s Camp Huckins, a girls’ camp in Freedom, New Hampshire, had a 42.6-kilowatt (kW) solar photovoltaic (PV) array installed on the roof of its dining hall. The array’s DC power is sent through three inverters to the dining hall, and it is grid-tied. The array consists of 142 solar panels, each rated at 300 watts.
The Camp Huckins solar array is expected to produce about 40,720 kilowatt hours of electric energy each year. This offsets 43,326 pounds of carbon dioxide annually, approximately what would be emitted by burning 2078 gallons of gasoline.
The array was installed by ReVision Energy, a Certified B Corporation in Brentwood, New Hampshire. The installation was done through a power purchase agreement (PPA), under the terms of which Camp Huckins can get use of the power from it, saving money in the process, without having to pay any initial costs.
The new array is not the first that Camp Huckins had installed by ReVision Energy. A 7.92-kW solar PV system was installed in 2012 for the Camp’s bath house. It has 33 solar panels, each rated at 235 watts. It was also installed under a PPA with ReVision Energy, so Camp Huckins’ decision to go ahead with the new system was based on earlier experience. In addition, the camp had a solar hot water system installed in 2003 and highly efficient heat-pump water heaters.
Jody Skelton, Camp Huckins’ executive director, told us that she feels the most important thing about the solar array is not the money saved, or even the direct environmental benefit, but its value in terms of the effect it has on the children. “It is an education piece,” she said. “Every day we visit the meter and read how many kilowatt hours we have made.” The children leave with some understanding of solar power.
The solar array continues to run through the year, even when the only thing taking place at Camp Huckins is administrative work in the office. It uses net metering to save credit for excess solar power generated in the winter to use during the active summer months.
ReVision Energy’s website is https://www.revisionenergy.com/.
Camp Huckins’ website is https://camphuckins.org/.