NH Co-ops solar facility adds green energy to the power grid
The sun is Earths silent energy source and the New Hampshire Electric Cooperatives new solar farm is a silent and efficient energy producer for part of the state.
Situated on 12 acres carved out of a 65-acre wooded parcel far off the
Theres no noise, no moving parts, and no maintenance, says
Now youll see the Co-ops biggest secret, Co-op Communications Administrator
The total cost to build the facility was
The 7,200 panels together produce about 3.3 million kilowatt-hours of electricity a year. The juice makes a journey from the solar farm along a transmission line to the Co-op substation a third of a mile away on
While the solar facility produces only a small fraction between 1 and 2 percent of the utilitys peak power demand, the Co-op sees the benefits of its only commercial generating facility as twofold. First: It is a new source of dependable renewable energy for the next 30 years or more. Second: It provides significant savings on what the utility would otherwise have to pay to purchase power off the regional power grid, especially during the peak time between
This price stability is important to the Co-op. We know what this power will cost, Lemay said. By comparison, the price for wholesale power purchased off the
The facility also generates Renewable Energy Certificates which the Co-op can use either to meet its requirements under the states Renewable Portfolio Standard or can sell to other electricity providers. The certificates or Green Tags represent proof that 1 megawatt-hour of electricity was generated from a renewable energy resource and was fed into the shared system of power lines which transport energy to the general public.
This was a big job for the Co-op, Lemay said. He said that the utility is now looking at the possibility of installing storage batteries at the site to store power until it is most needed at times of peak power demand.
Whether the Co-op might build other solar facilities remains to be seen and the lead time for such facilities is considerable. Planning for the