Solar Energy | New Hampshire Public Radio

Solar Energy

Jessica Hunt/NHPR

A continuación, encuentra las noticias del lunes 19 de octubre. 

Puedes escucharlas haciendo click en el audio o leerlas.

Una nota: Lo escrito es nuestro guión para nuestras grabaciones. Tenlo en cuenta si ven algunas anotaciones diferentes.

Hay más casos activos de COVID en el estado desde cualquier momento desde mediados de junio    

NHSEC

State regulators didn't raise major concerns Friday at the start of final deliberations on New Hampshire’s first-ever major solar power project.

The 30-megawatt Chinook Solar array is proposed by Florida-based NextEra, which also owns Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant. It would cover about 100 acres of private land in the small Monadnock Valley town of Fitzwilliam.

Rob_ / Flickr CC

At a public hearing Thursday, a state site evaluation subcommittee questioned developers behind a proposed 30 megawatt solar project about its potential impacts to the environment and wildlife.

The Chinook Solar array would cover about 100 acres near Route 119 in Ftizwilliam. If approved, it could be the largest solar array in the state.

wikimedia commons

Will large-scale solar energy take off in New Hampshire? Although far behind its New England neighbors in producing solar energy, there are several major projects in the works that could significantly boost capacity here.  But these expansive installations can face challenges and opposition, even among renewable energy supporters. 

Flicker CC / https://flic.kr/p/drsrm8

An application to build what could be New Hampshire's largest solar array cleared its first step at a public meeting Tuesday with the state's Site Evaluation Committee.

Committee members unanimously voted that NextEra Energy’s application was complete.

The 30 megawatt solar array in Fitzwilliam could be the state’s largest and is the first solar proposal to come before the SEC.

NextEra had requested a waiver for on certain decommissioning requirements of the solar array.  But the committee unanimously voted to defer ruling on that request until later in the process.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Dover High School on Thursday unveiled its new solar array, the largest rooftop installation in the state.

It can generate close to a megawatt of power, enough to meet 40 percent of the school’s electricity needs. Any excess generation is sold back to the grid to help lower the schools energy bill.

That process is called net metering, and it’s currently capped at one megawatt for large arrays like Dover’s. This week, state legislators declined for the second year in a row to raise that cap.

Via USDA website

Governor Chris Sununu has signed a bill aimed at helping low-income residents benefit from solar power.

It was one of his stated priorities for the year – and one of the few renewable energy proposals on which he compromised with Democratic lawmakers.

Rob_ / Flickr CC

The town of Fitzwilliam could be the site of the state's largest solar project. Florida-based NextEra Energy Resources will hold a public information session on Thursday about the project.

The proposed 30 megawatt Chinook Solar Project would be built on 110 acres of private land and would cost about $30 million.

Bryan Garner is a spokesperson for NextEra Energy. He says the energy produced here will satisfy the Three State Clean Energy Request For Proposals

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The New Hampshire House approved a bill Thursday to spur more solar energy projects that would benefit low-income residents.

The proposal requires utilities each year to build at least two solar projects that help reduce energy costs for lower-income families.

The plan stems from a compromise between Senate Majority Leader Dan Feltes, a Democrat, and Gov. Chris Sununu, who said low-income solar projects would be among his priorities this year.

File Photo, NHPR

Governor Chris Sununu says he hopes to sign a bill that would spur development of solar energy projects to benefit low-income residents. It was a stated priority at the start of his term, but until now, he hadn't weighed in much on related legislation.

File Photo, NHPR

Efforts to expand net energy metering in New Hampshire are gaining steam in the state legislature. The Senate takes up a key proposal this week, after the House passed its version of the bill by a wide margin.

Town meeting voters in Milford will decide Tuesday whether to green-light one of the largest proposed solar arrays in the state. New Hampshire-based developer Granite Apollo wants to build the 20-megawatt array just off Route 101 in Milford.

The proposed site is on Perry Road, on land the town purchased for future economic development nearly 20 years ago.

Milford officials say they could earn more than $6 million in revenue from the large solar project. But neighbors have raised concerns about its effects on wetlands and wildlife at the site.

John W. Hession

A new apartment building in Gilford is the first in the state to be certified as a “passive house.”

It uses airtight construction and energy efficient insulation that aims to sharply lower residents’ bills.

The building is the third phase of an affordable senior housing development called Gilford Village Knolls.

It includes 24 one-bedroom apartments, with a small rooftop solar array to cut residents' energy costs through net metering.

The nonprofit Lakes Region Community Developers built the multi-million dollar complex with state funding and tax credits.

Flicker CC / https://flic.kr/p/drsrm8

 

The town of Milford is considering leasing 120 acres of town property to a Manchester-based solar energy company.

 

The company, Granite Apollo, has signed a letter of intent to build a solar farm on the Brox property, a former industrial site near Route 101 that used to produce gravel.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

New Hampshire’s largest solar company wants to train more electricians to fill jobs in renewable energy and other industries.

ReVision Energy is touting its new training center now, as part of National Apprenticeship Week. But the program already has 50 students enrolled.

For the next four years, those apprentices will earn full-time wages – up to $25 an hour – and log enough training hours to get their state electrician certification.

The company will also train electricians in Maine and, starting next year, Massachusetts.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Members of New Hampshire's energy industry joined lawmakers Monday at the state’s annual energy summit, which helps set priorities for next year's legislative session.

They debated the policies – and politics – that could help lower the region’s high electric costs, diversify and stabilize fuel supplies, and reduce reliance on imported fossil fuels.

Governor Chris Sununu and Democratic rival Molly Kelly presented contrasting ideas on those issues at the start of the summit.  

Julian- / Flickr Creative Commons

The Portsmouth City Council voted Tuesday night to expand a tax exemption for home solar panels.

They passed a resolution extending the city’s current exemption to solar arrays of any age, and removing caps on valuations and how long exemptions last.

The value of the panels will be added to homeowners’ property assessment, then immediately deducted, which officials say means the change won't have a big effect on city revenues or residents' tax bills.

Governor Chris Sununu has vetoed a bill to expand electric net metering in New Hampshire, but renewable energy advocates hope legislators will force the bill through.

Ted Vansant runs a solar business and leads the state's sustainable energy advocacy group. He calls the governor's move short-sighted.

"I really feel like he's missing an opportunity to move our state toward the growth of good jobs, clean air, clean water, and true long-term cost savings," Vansant says. (Read his organization's full statement below.)

City of Nashua

The city of Nashua is moving forward in its plan to reduce its carbon footprint.  

The Solarize+ campaign covers Nashua and Hudson, and runs through the end of August.

The city is working with two New Hampshire companies to offer residents and businesses discounts on clean energy upgrades – like solar installations, battery storage and energy efficiency audits.

Madeline Mineau of the city’s energy committee says the more sign-ups they get, the bigger the discounts will be.

file

A solar power developer wants to install an array on a sealed-off Superfund site in Londonderry. It’s one of the largest solar projects currently in the works in the state. 

Flicker CC / https://flic.kr/p/drsrm8

A proposal for New Hampshire's biggest solar farm doesn't pass muster with zoning laws in Concord.

The Zoning Board of Appeals this week rejected the 54-acre solar farm because it had too many "impervious surfaces" that would cause rain to run off instead of soak into the ground.

Project developer NextEra will consider whether to appeal. Spokesman Bryan Garner acknowledged to the Concord Monitor that the project doesn't "fit neatly or conform to existing zoning codes."

Robert Garrova for NHPR

The City of Nashua announced today a new program to bring more solar power to the city.

 

Nashua Mayor Jim Donchess outlined the campaign at the Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter which switched on its own 131-panel solar array earlier this year.

 

It’s called the “Solarize + Campaign,” and the plan is to allow residents and local businesses to pool resources in order to get better deals on solar energy construction and efficiency improvements.

 

Rob_ / Flickr CC

Voters in Newport approved a major solar deal Tuesday.

The project will go up for one final vote in May, but town officials are hoping to begin construction this summer.

Under the plan, solar arrays would power all the town’s municipal and school buildings, making them net zero.  

It’s a collaboration between Newport and Norwich solar technologies.  The company will cover construction and maintenance costs in exchange for the ability to benefit from federal tax credits.

Courtesy John Stark Regional High School

Communities across the state will confront questions of energy sustainability at their annual town meetings this week.

Several southwest New Hampshire and Seacoast towns plan to vote on urging the state and federal government to study offshore wind development in the Gulf of Maine.

Some of those towns are far from the ocean, but Henry Herndon, director of local energy solutions for the New Hampshire Sustainable Energy Association, says they could still benefit from new renewable power in the region.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Massachusetts opted last week for one large power line to cover a big chunk of its energy needs for the next 20-plus years.

The Northern Pass proposal beat out other big transmission projects and dozens of smaller options for the right to supply all renewable power the Commonwealth wants.

As NHPR's Annie Ropeik reports, this has analysts and developers wondering what role smaller projects will play in the future of the grid.

How Will Solar Tariffs Affect N.H.?

Jan 24, 2018
flickr/creative commons

What do New Hampshire business owners say about the Trump administration's new tax on imported solar panels?  The tariff starts at 30 percent and drops 5 percent in each of the next three years. It's not as severe as Trump could have imposed, and it’s meant to boost the American solar manufacturing industry.  

Thomas Gehrke / Flickr Creative Commons

Energy developers are set to learn Thursday which of their projects will get long-term contracts to provide 1,200 megawatts of renewable energy to Massachusetts.

Several projects in New Hampshire are in the running.

Developers sent in more than 40 proposals to bring hydro, solar and wind power to Massachusetts, primarily from Northern New England and Canada.

Julian- / Flickr Creative Commons

Some New Hampshire business owners say the Trump administration's new tax on imported solar panels will slow the growth of residential solar use in the Granite State.

The tariff starts at 30 percent and drops 5 percent in each of the next three years. It's not as severe as Trump could have imposed, and it’s meant to boost the American solar manufacturing industry.

Courtesy ReVision Energy

A new solar panel installation at Phillips Exeter Academy is now the largest at any school in the state.

The array of more than 1,500 solar panels was installed by Revision Energy. The company says it will provide the majority of the electric load for the private school’s new field house.

Christina Zlotnick with ReVision Energy says the continued decline in solar energy costs has more businesses interested in projects like this one.

NH Solar Shares

Plymouth will soon be home to the state's first small solar panel arrays designed to help low-income families. The nonprofit behind the project hopes other towns will follow suit.  

Solar Shares has raised more $115,000 for the arrays and plans to break ground on the first one, near the Common Man Inn, in the spring.

Pages