One of New Hampshire’s largest solar arrays will save the city of Keene millions of dollars while generating enough power to offset the electric load of nearly 100 homes. The recently completed municipal project includes 2,010 solar panels on the rooftops of the Keene Ice center and adjacent Public Works Department building.
Last week, the Keene City Council approved a resolution that encourages the city and its residents to eventually generate 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources.
“This project is part of our work to have all electricity in Keene generated by sustainable renewable energy sources by 2030,” according to Keene Mayor Kendall Lane. “We are very excited to be working with ReVision Energy in this development and look forward to future projects promoting renewable energy.”
The Keene solar array represents the largest New Hampshire project installed last year by ReVision Energy. The public works building and the police department will use the generated solar power, which will offset a significant portion of the city’s electric load while transitioning Keene away from fossil fuels.
“It is wonderful to see the City of Keene join the growing number of municipalities, businesses and homeowners that recognize the value in transitioning away from fossil fuel-based energy to local, renewable sources of energy,” said Elijah Garrison, ReVision Energy employee-owner and director of commercial and industrial sales. “These projects help build a stronger sense of community, reduce energy costs and, of course, they harness energy from the most abundant resource available. We commend Keene for setting a positive and forward-thinking example.”
The 643.2-kilowatt municipal project will generate close to 740,000-kilowatt hours of clean energy each year and will offset roughly 777,000 pounds of carbon pollution. Using solar power to generate electricity for the municipality is equivalent to taking 76 cars off the road each year or offsetting the carbon sequestered by 416 acres of forests or the carbon emissions from burning 817 barrels of oil.
Financing for the $1.35 million solar array is provided by a group of local impact investors through ReVision Solar Impact Partners, which own the array through a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the City of Keene. Under the terms of the PPA, the city initially agrees to purchase electricity at a negotiated rate below the cost of grid electricity, thereby saving taxpayer money without any capital expense. After five years, the city will have the option to purchase the system at a significant discount, enabling the municipality to generate free solar power for decades to come.
The array is expected to save taxpayers approximately $3.5 million over the life of the system if the city exercises its future purchase option. The PPA enables Keene to leverage the economic and environmental benefits of solar power while giving the impact partners an opportunity to make community investments that align with their commitment to environmental sustainability.
— Solar Builder magazine