Newfields Municipal Solar
There are certain types of places that are very well suited to solar installations. Green Energy Times has published a number of articles about capped landfills, for example. But there are other types of properties to think about as particularly well suited to large photovoltaic (PV) arrays, and one of these is water treatment plants. Typically, they have available roof or land areas where PV systems can be set up. Such plants are also heavy users of electricity, which means that the lines to support their use are already installed, and they can use the electricity produced.
The plants need not be large to be beneficial. The Town of Newfields, New Hampshire, has a water treatment plant to cover the needs of its 1,700 inhabitants. And now the town also has its own PV array installed at the water treatment plant by ReVision Energy.
The Newfields solar array has 216 solar panels, with a combined capacity of 75.6 kilowatts, which are expected to provide just about all of the water treatment plant’s electricity. The 93,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity it generates each year should offset the equivalent of 98,000 pounds of carbon dioxide, which is the amount of CO₂ released by burning nearly 5,000 gallons of gasoline.
ReVision Energy designed and installed the system at no cost to the town. Instead of paying for the array, the town entered into a power purchase agreement leaving ownership of the array with ReVision. The town gets an appreciable reduction in its electricity costs and is expected to save at least $530,000 over the array’s lifetime. The cost is fixed, and the town has an option to buy the array after seven years.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Newfields solar array took place on February 8, 2019. U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan joined local leaders at the event.
ReVision Energy’s website is www.revisionenergy.com.
Milford Solar Farm
This year, at a town meeting, the voters of Milford, New Hampshire, approved a measure to allow a solar project to be installed on 120 acres of land owned by the town. The array is to be built by Granite Apollo, which is based in Manchester, NH.
The land for the array once was used by Brox Industries, which produces paving materials. The town purchased the land about twenty years ago, and since then, community leaders have been looking to put it to use.
Last year, town officials and Granite Apollo signed a letter of intent, which gave the solar installer the go-ahead it needed to plan the system. The suggested lease deal would provide the town with $1,000 per acre of land in the project. The amount was to increase every five years for the duration of the lease, or 25 years. Under the lease terms, the town stands to see $3.5 million in revenues, with possibly up to $6 million, if the lease is renewed. The town will also benefit from tax revenues which are in addition to the lease income.
The Milford solar array is to have a capacity of 20 megawatts. At that size, it would be sufficient to supply average annual power for about 4,500 New Hampshire homes. The electricity will be sold to the grid.
The array was opposed by some neighbors who expressed concerns about its effects on wildlife in general and wetlands in particular. The array had to meet the state’s environmental standards, however, and when the matter went before the town meeting for a vote, over 71% of those who voted on it were in favor.
Granite Apollo is working on other large solar projects in New Hampshire, which we will follow. The company website is www.graniteapollo.com.