The abundant sunshine of this summer has been especially welcome to the many households in Plainfield and Cornish that participated in the Solarize Program which was hosted by the Energy Committees of our respective towns. This program was designed to concentrate a large number of solar photovoltaic (PV or electricity-generating) installations in a given geographic area over a short period of time, thereby reducing the cost to participants and it was successful by all measures.
Heartfelt thanks to Solar Source of Keene, NH, the company we chose to be our Solarize partner. As Steve Ladd noted in a Solarize email: “We are very impressed with the amount of work that our partner installer accomplished over the short course of the Solarize program. They performed 124 site visits in our two communities, prepared 104 proposals, and are doing the administrative and installation work associated with 23 contracts! Throughout this busy time they were supremely patient and always available for questions.
And thanks also to Vital Communities. Staff members Sarah Simonds and Allison Rogers Furbish were admirably well organized, encouraging and patient and provided us with valuable support throughout the program.
Solar panels totalling 115 kW were installed in 23 homes by Solar Source. Nine of these were in Meriden and Plainfield and 16 in Cornish. And the number of participants in the program allowed us to reach the lowest price, so that the cost became $3.40 per installed watt - before tax credit and rebate. In addition, 9 systems were installed by Norwich Technologies, ReVision and SunWorx, providing another 65 kW. So we have increased the solar arrays in our two towns by 180 kW total.
Prior to the Solarize program, we knew of 30 households with PV (electric) and/or SHW (solar hot water or “thermal”) systems. There are 18 SHW systems. The 15 PV systems for which the size is known add up to 60 kW and in addition, Townline Equipment has an 80 kW PV system. Thus the pre-Solarize electricity generating capacity in town equalled approximately 140 kW. Add to that the 90 kW installed during this summer and our town now has at least 230 kW in solar PV and a lot of water being heated by the sun!
We expect to capitalize on the momentum created by the Solarize program to encourage more installations of both PV and hot water systems and to explore options for DIY systems, community solar, municipal projects and funding mechanisms to make renewable energy more affordable.
The Town of Plainfield has been selected for a “Moose Plate Grant” award to fund restoration and weatherization of the Meriden Town Hall windows and doors. The $10,000 grant is provided by the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources through the sale of conservation license plates. We hope that work can begin later this fall and we hope that you will consider buying a Moose Plate to support projects like ours.
In recognition for exceeding Solarize Cornish-Plainfield's goal of installing 60kW of new residential PV solar systems, Craig Bell of Solar Source presented members of the Cornish and Plainfield Energy Committees with a $1000 check which will be used to install an electric vehicle charging station at Anne's Country store on RT 12A in Plainfield.
(R to L: Craig Bell, Bill Cable, Steve Ladd, Ron Eberhardt, Mary Boyle, Anne Yates, Nancy Mogielnicki)
Over the summer, 33 new PV solar systems were installed in Cornish and Plainfield for a total of 180 kW in potential renewable energy production. This initiative was a joint effort between the towns' energy committees and Vital Communities aimed at making residential and small business solar photovoltaic (PV) energy more accessible across our region. It served to educate the communities on energy alternatives, provide coordination and group pricing on solar installation, and inspired additional community projects such as the EV charging station, DIY options and net metering/group solar installations. Solar Source was selected as the project's preferred solar vendor and installed 23 of the systems.
The towns' energy committees elected to use the $1000 to install the EV charging station as a commitment to alternative energy use and to increase the number of EV charge points in NH. There are currently 31 public charging stations in NH, and 42 in Vermont. Anne's Country Store is halfway between Claremont and West Lebanon on Rt 12A. The charging system is expected to be operational before the end of the year.