Beth Caldwell of RGBC Associates and EMF Inc. (an IT service company) had a clear goal of transitioning the EMF building in Keene, NH to clean and renewable solar energy when she walked into the Green Energy Options Store in Keene. She had become sufficiently informed on solar energy investment to be confident that this could also be a sound financial decision; she could “do well by doing good.”
Beth said, “Federal tax credits and long-term financial benefits made the project with Green Energy Options a sensible one. Just as critical as financial incentives, was our commitment to do what we can for our planet’s future, where we are, with what we have. Climate change is not a trivial matter. We are convinced that what we do about our carbon footprint is more important than what we say. Our solar project was a wise financial investment, and a moral choice driven by our values.”
Starting from this place, RGBC Associates and Green Energy Options began a systematic process of design, cost calculation, and a return on investment analysis that verified Beth’s assumptions and identified a project approach that would fully meet their goals. The result of the design and cost-benefit analysis showed that the cost of investing in solar was less than the cost of not making the investment, and did not have the risks that accompany most investments. This work was all done before RGBC Associates invested a single dollar, resulting in a fully informed decision to go forward with a 107kW solar project.
Don McCormick, Commercial Solar Development at Green Energy Options said, “Most people do not yet realize what a strong and easy investment a commercial solar energy project is. It pays for itself by converting the money you are already spending on electricity and taxes, and using them to pay for a durable solar energy facility for you. If you pay taxes and use electricity, then it is cheaper for you to buy a solar energy project than to do nothing!”
RGBC Associates solar energy project was designed to fully net the anticipated annual energy load of the EMF building. To do so required a solar design that utilized all sections of the flat and pitched roof as well as a ground mount solar array six panels high by eleven panels long. Panel optimization was used to get the most out of each panel regardless of differences in solar access from momentary shading of portions of the array.
Bob Gogolen, RGBC Associates’ co-owner and President of EMF Inc., worked closely with Green Energy Options throughout the development and construction process, both to provide input on decision points along the way, and to become an informed and educated solar energy facility owner.
Gogolen and GEO worked closely on ground mount siting to ensure parking and vehicular flow was ideal when the project was complete. The ground mount section of the solar array has become an aesthetic centerpiece and statement of RGBC Associates’ commitment to green energy. As an expert in network and communication systems, Bob became instrumental in the design and troubleshooting of communications for the control and monitoring system and revenue grade meter.
On GEO, Gogolen said, “What impressed us most about Green Energy Options was their approach. They obviously understood the technology, but took a holistic approach to our needs: business, permitting, financial, current and future building usage, parking, aesthetics, and of course the technical side. This is what EMF does with our information technology customers. GEO went above and beyond when the inevitable twists and turns of a project this size posed challenges. And last but not least, it’s fun working with people who share your concern for the environment.”
Only two months after the beginning of construction, the now complete 107 kW solar energy system is providing energy to the building and the grid through the New Hampshire Net-Metering program and is on target to net all of the energy usage of the EMF building going forward!
RGBC Associates is now offering light commercial office and warehouse rental space in the EMF building that includes a menu of IT and other business service and support options. They believe that their investment and commitment to renewable energy and efficiency makes their space even more attractive.
Pablo Fleishmann is the co-owner of Green Energy Options of Keene, NH with his wife Valerie Piedmont. Green Energy Options is a Certified B Corporation and mission-driven business devoted to moving the Monadnock region toward greater energy independence, sustainability and regenerative ways of living.