Governor Sununu Signs HB315, Expanding Municipal Solar Capacity to 5MW
Taking advantage of signed New Hampshire legislative bills HB315 and SB91 by Governor Sununu at the Derry Fordway Transfer facility on August 26, 2021, the Town of Derry solicited bids for a 2.2MW (megawatt) solar farm to be erected on ten acres of unused town-owned solid waste landfill on Kendall Pond Road. Bids for the 10-acre solar farm are currently being evaluated following the submittal deadline of September 1.
This bidding process, including the Request for Proposal (RFP) is coordinated by Derry Director of Operations, Mike Fowler, with technical assistance from the Derry NetZero Task Force under the direction of Committee Chairman Jeff Moulton. The 2.2MW system would be sufficient to provide the electrical needs of municipal facilities including police and fire stations, water department, Municipal Center, public street lighting, Taylor and Derry Public Libraries, Marion Gerrish Center and Opera House, among other facilities. Additional capacity for powering public schools may be added in a future option with approval from the School Board, adding approximately 2.7M kilowatt hours of electrical capacity. According to NetZero Chairman Moulton, “Town municipal electrical energy savings may be anticipated up to $3.5 million over the expected solar farm’s lifespan of twenty-five years, with potential payback in under twelve years.”
By limiting the total solar output to under 5MW, the Town is maximizing benefits of two bills recently passed by the NH Legislature and signed by Governor Sununu, who characterized the two bills as “…a 603 win for clean energy.” House Bill 315 increases the current group net metering cap of 1MW to 5MW for NH cities and towns, enabling significant revenue generation and renewable energy investment. Senate Bill 91 is an omnibus renewable energy bill requiring the state to adopt rules about energy storage, as electrical storage batteries are becoming more commonplace in homes, businesses and industrial applications.
Derry Director of Operations Mike Fowler said, “The solar installation at the Fordway Town Transfer Station that was installed in 2018 is operating above its expected capacity. Production has met the promised annual target of 150,000 kWh, and produced nearly $50,000 in energy savings over 2-1/2 years of operation, with expected payback in just 9-1/2 years. Projected out through its expected 25-year life expectancy we anticipate about $370,000 in total electrical energy savings for the Town.”
Bids for the 10-acre solar farm will now be evaluated. The winning bidder will agree to build the solar farm over the existing landfill in compliance with NHDES and NHPUC guidelines, providing a lease-to-own or outright purchase option, for consideration by the Town Council.
Craig Lazinsky is the vice chairman of the Derry Net-Zero Committee, email@example.com, https://www.derrynh.org/net-zero-task-force