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My Turn: New Hampshire’s path to a solar future

As the chairman of the Bristol Energy Committee, I would like to make the public aware that right-sized and appropriately funded solar arrays in New Hampshire provide a practical approach to renewable energy in this state and should be a larger part of the developing 2014 Energy Strategy plan.

Bristol township has placed a 58-panel, 15-kilowatt array on the library roof. This array, one year old at the end of this July, is on track to produce enough electricity to meet the library’s annual power needs of 18 megawatt hours.

Extrapolating from these deployment results, 1 megawatt arrays could be deployed by towns in New Hampshire and each produce 1,300 megawatt hours per year. This is enough power to supply the municipal power needs in a town of 7,000 people.

Municipal needs include, in order of demand, water and sewer, schools, fire, police, administration, recreational and road-maintenance facilities. Each array could be built on less than three acres at the local water and sewer plants, and could be built for less than $4 million.

If 25 of these arrays were deployed in small towns in New Hampshire, at a cost of less then $100 million dollars over the next decade, these arrays would produce half of New Hampshire’s 2025 renewable energy goal.

These arrays could be funded as portion of the Alternative Compliance Payments paid by the utilities into the Renewable Energy Fund at the Public Utilities Commission each year.

In 2013, these payments amounted to $18 million, and this year are likely to be in excess of $20 million. The ACP fund will escalate each year based on inflation and the rate approved by the state Legislature.

Using approximately one-third of the New Hampshire ACP funds over the next 10 years would set New Hampshire to achieve 50 percent of its renewable energy goals from solar (instead of 0.3 percent), provide no cost or low cost power to 25 financially burdened municipal administrations, and provide both local employment and education to local residents and tradespeople, the skill set of which is then transferable to business and residential deployments or applications.

If more money was allocated from the ACP funds, larger arrays could be deployed for the larger cities, providing financial relief to their municipal electrical power billings and fully achieving the New Hampshire Renewable Energy goals of 25 percent of energy by 2025.

This is a readily implementable energy strategy for New Hampshire, with all the components in place: sites, labor, technology, materials and funding source. All that is needed is the political will, by the New Hampshire Legislature, to implement it as an achievable component of this 2014 Energy Strategy Plan.

(William Dowey is chairman of Bristol Energy Committee.)

Legacy Comments14

I've been recently thinking about the pairing of solar panels and electric cars. The manufacturers of electric cars ought to team up with the makers of solar panels and market them together. Put a panel on your garage roof, and charge your car at night from the stored electricity. In this part of the country you'd still need an occasional backup from the grid, but for the vast majority of the time you could truly be emission-free with your car. Very appealing.

Yea - tow your boat to a regatta in Toronto using an electric car - NOT

Bill...in my humble opinion, there are two reasons that this movement will take a very long time: 1) as you indicate, political will is needed and, since our legislature is so conservatively-controlled, that may be insurmountable, and 2) the electric companies will lobby against it. But, your proposal sounds well thought out and do-able. Thanks for the letter.

Unfortunately, you have no opinions which are humble and perhaps most are arrogantly absolute.

lol...that was a good 'un, Itsa. But truth be told, there are very few humble opinions posted here, including mine. This forum serves as a sounding board, so it kind of goes with the territory.

Ya forgot 1 thing Walter - his whole premises stands on 1 single thing - OPM - the whole solar hoax requires other peoples money to occur - it does not stand on its own. It is the liberal way

Some people might listen to the crap you sling if: a) you had something meaningful to say, and b) you could use real names, instead of hiding behind meaningless monikers!!

“When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.” ― Socrates

You might want to remind Itsa of that one. And keep it handy for your own use.

From the King of name calling, stereotyping and branding of others.

"'The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing." Socrates

OPM? The same could be said of almost anything--from our highway system to computers and biotech, the electric grid, to nuclear power. Some people develop scruples about spending "other peoples money" when that spending threatens vested economic interests in the status-quo.

Remember when Bruce emphatically spewed the NY Times report on Benghazi. The US prosecutor in the Abu Khattala trial laid out the facts this week that again showed that Bruce is NO source for truth - take what he posts with a grain of salt - he is always proven wrong again and again and again

good cheerleader story - poor story on the behind the scenes reality. I am sure the LIDV's will suck this up

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