Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

Meet Your Solar Installers – 603 Solar

603 Solar installed a 16kW rooftop solar array at a residence in Madison, NH. (Courtesy image)

Jessie Haas

603 Solar of Exeter, NH, was founded in 2018 by Sean Carlson, Zach Haithcock, and Scot Johnson, who worked with larger companies before going out on their own. The company serves Maine and New Hampshire, installing mostly grid-tied systems for both commercial and residential customers, and offers engineering, procurement, construction, and contracting services. They are not ‘married’ to any one solar module manufacturer but use several popular models.

The process begins with a site evaluation, including an assessment of yearly electricity use. Then the team puts together a scale model of the home and array so customers can see exactly what it will look like. 603 Solar submits the permitting paperwork, completes the installation, coordinates with state inspectors, and provides monitoring. They can always tell customers what the system is doing and can alert them if there is a problem. The company has installed 4,766 MW, including 1,799 kW in 2021. Haithcock says there have been many inquiries recently, as gas and utility bills rise. Supply chain issues are an issue, but they have not been forced to put any projects on hold. A recent project is installing the 48.8 kW array at the new New Hampshire State Liquor Store in Concord.

603 Solar also worked with the Solarize Canterbury project in the summer of 2019. The project met its goal twice-over, installing 35 new solar arrays in three months, with total installed kW of 340.4. The estimated year one production was 373,231 kWh, and total yearly avoided emissions was 264 metric tons. The Canterbury project was initiated by the town’s energy committee, which put out a request for proposal and ultimately chose 603 Solar for the project.

Community solar. 603’s approach to community solar differs slightly from that of many other installers. With most community solar projects, the ultimate cost depends on how many customers agree to convert to solar. In communities that are less ready to switch over, the cost can be higher. 603’s community- based solar program, Solar Now, is more transparent up front. Cost is based on the number of panels each home or business needs. Customers can determine the cost of their system immediately. 603 notes on their website, “It also means we are putting our best foot forward right off the bat, instead of relying on other people switching in order to get a discount. The campaign generally lasts three months and anyone within the community that signs up during the campaign will be locked in at the special pricing. Throughout the campaign we work with the community to sponsor educational events, tabling events, advertising, and anything else that will help spread awareness of the campaign.”

Though it is a New Hampshire company, 603 Solar offers financing through Vermont-based credit union VSECU. VSECU membership is normally only available to people who live or work in Vermont or are related to VSECU members, but they also extend membership to the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA). 603 Solar customers wanting to finance through VSECU must join NESEA. Memberships cost $75 per year, with reduced rates for students, seniors, and professionals at the start of their careers. There are also business memberships starting at $300 per year for small businesses with one to10 employees, up to $1,200 per year for industry leaders.

Membership gives 603 Solar customers access to the VSECU no-money-down “VGreen” solar loan. This allows homeowners to start generating their own electricity without the daunting barrier of a large upfront payment. Tax credits and other incentives can be applied to lower your principal. Loans are at discounted, fixed rates. VSECU also offers a VGreen money market account, several types of energy loans, green vehicle loans, and even off-grid home mortgages.

According to Haithcock, VSECU was the only lender willing to have a discussion with them when they were starting their company. “We’ve cultivated a real relationship with them. We know everybody in the Green Loans Department.” 603 has found VSECU excellent to work with, and though they could now go elsewhere, have decided to stick with the credit union that helped give them their start.

Zach Haithcock says the company has grown through being “honest, transparent, providing great customer service, and giving people the best ROI possible. Deep down I feel we’re doing the right thing, helping people get a good product they can believe in. I get to meet people all the time, and I just love what I do.”

Jessie Haas is the author of over 40 books, including The Hungry Place. She and husband Michael Daley have lived in a tiny, off-grid home in Westminster for 38 years.

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