ALBANY — The Tin Mountain Energy Team is hosting a presentation, “Solar Energy for Municipalities and Schools,” at 6:30 p.m. on June 4 at Tin Mountain Conservation Center on Bald Hill Road in Albany.
Dr. Marianne Jackson and Russ Lanoie, both of Madison and members of the Tin Mountain Energy Team, said featured speakers will include Ted Vansant of Holderness, who is the Clean Energy NH board chair, and Henry Herndon, director of Clean Energy’s N.H. Local Energy Solutions of Concord.
Herndon noted: “We are a resource where towns and cities and schools can turn to seek information about financing business models and siting considerations, or any questions they may have.” Herndon said Clean Energy has been around for about 15 years, with the organization previously known as N.H. Sustainable Energy being renamed Clean Energy last year.
Also invited to speak are local town government representatives who have been working on transforming their town facilities to solar power.
They include former selectman Dick Bennett of Jackson, chair of the town’s energy committee and a licensed electrician and homebuilder.
Also invited to speak is Noreen Downs of Madison’s energy advisory committee.
The towns of Jackson and Madison have both embraced solar projects for their town buildings, and the members will share their experiences, Jackson and Lanoie said.
Those projects are expected to soon award solar company contracts, with the goal of providing power for town-owned buildings, thereby reducing overall costs, and hopefully, tax bills.
“This came about through discussions at our recent FunEnergy Festival at the North Conway Community Center last month, when we all got talking among ourselves and decided this would be good to share information,” said Jackson.
“We want to make towns and schools and all citizens aware of the resources and incentives that are available, so we can help walk them through the process,” she said, as she and Lanoie gave a tour of Tin Mountain Conservation Center’s solar thermal and photovoltaic rooftop and ground-mounted solar panel array during Tin Mountain’s annual meeting May 11.
The North Conway Community Center also recently installed a rooftop-mounted photovoltaic solar system.
The town of Conway has a planned solar project at the Trash Transfer Station, with the town leasing the site for the solar array to a private developer at no cost to the town, according to Town Manager Tom Holmes and Town Engineer Paul DegliAngeli.
All explained that by leasing space on town or school properties to private solar investors, the investors qualify for the federal solar investment tax credit (ITC), a 30 percent tax credit for solar systems on residential and commercial properties — something for which a town, school or non-profit organization otherwise would not be eligible.
Bennett and Downs both said voters at town meeting approved their respective town property solar endeavors. Both towns have an option to buy the systems that investors are paying for and installing after a period of years. In the meantime, they get reduced electrical bills.
The town of Jackson is looking to install solar at the town offices and at the town garage, Bennett said.
He said Jackson voters have agreed to put some money aside each year to save up for the day when and if they decide to purchase the equipment.
Madison had originally looked at doing the elementary school along with other town buildings, but due to several factors, is currently just looking at solar behind Burke Field, which would supply power for the nearby town hall, the library, the fire station and the town’s two maintenance garages, according to Downs.
For more information about the June 4 workshop, call Tin Mountain Conservation Center’s Program Director Nora Dufilho at (603) 447-6991.