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Webster begins installing first municipal solar array at school

  • Granite State Solar partner Alan Gauntt (left) and employee Jake Louis anchor a solar array rack to the ground during construction of Webster’s new solar array next to Webster Elementary School on Wednesday. The $115,260 array is being installed near the elementary school’s soccer field. Elizabeth Franz/ Monitor staff

  • Granite State Solar partner Erik Shifflett (left) and Luke Ashworth of Nuance Energy check the leveling of a solar array rack during construction of Webster's new solar array next to Webster Elementary School on Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Granite State Solar partner Alan Gauntt (second from right) and employee Jake Louis anchor a solar array rack to the ground during construction of Webster's new solar array next to Webster Elementary School on Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff



Monitor staff
Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Granite State Solar began constructing Webster’s new solar array this week – a project that will move the town “forward into the 21 century,” according to select board chairman Bruce Johnson.

“This is an exciting time for the town of Webster,” Johnson said.

The $115,260, 144-panel array is being installed in a small section near the Webster Elementary School soccer field. Connected to a Unitil meter, the project is expected to offset the town’s $11,800 annual electrical usage by 98 percent.

Through the state’s net metering program, energy produced by the panels will flow back to the power company, crediting Webster with that production in the meantime.

Because New Hampshire participates in the Renewable Energy Certificates energy commodities program, Webster would receive about $3,100 annually in REC checks, according to town meeting minutes.

A state Public Utilities Commission commercial rebate program that pays 65 cents per AC watt would also provide the town with $29,640 toward the overall $99,360 project cost.

The rest of the cost was approved during last year’s town meeting 123-51, to be paid for by the town in a five-to seven-year loan.

The return on investment period will take about five years, Johnson said. In the meantime, the panels are under warranty to work for 25 years.

(Leah Willingham can be reached at 369-3322, lwillingham@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @LeahMWillingham.)