In 2020, Lake Region Community Developers installed solar panels on some of its Pine Hill duplexes in Laconia. With new funding from the Department of Energy, the entity will be installing more at other affordable housing sites. (Courtesy of LRCD)
The Executive Council this week approved funding for four solar projects that will benefit low- to moderate-income residents in Laconia, Newmarket, Weare, and the Center Harbor area.
Councilors OK’d close to $1 million from the Department of Energy’s Renewable Energy Fund, which supports thermal and electrical renewable energy initiatives. State statute requires that the department provide no less than 15 percent of REF funds annually to benefit low- to moderate-income residential customers.
The following four projects, benefiting a total of 61 households, were issued funding:
- Laconia Area Community Land Trust Inc., doing business as Lakes Region Community Developers, received $124,748 to work with a developer to install and operate solar photovoltaic systems interconnected to eight nonprofit-owned affordable housing units in Laconia. The systems will provide electricity to the tenants of the buildings, and each household will save an estimated $776 a year as a result.
- The Newmarket Housing Authority received $370,188 to install 22 separate rooftop solar arrays. The project will benefit 21 residential units and an office building. Households will receive on-bill credits on residential electric bills as a result of the solar arrays, and save an estimated $916 per year.
- The Plymouth Area Renewable Energy Initiative received $109,000 to install a ground-mount solar array to benefit low- to moderate-income residential electric customers in Center Harbor, Moultonborough, Holderness, and Sandwich. Part of a program called “NH Solar Shares,” households will receive a “solar share” credit on their electric bill, which is expected to reduce monthly bills by $31 to $34. The project is being done in collaboration with the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative, which will provide the direct on-bill credits. A community solar “garden” will be developed at the Lakes Region Conservation Trust, and an educational solar trail around the array will link to a walking trail on conservation property.
- The Regenerative Roots Association, a Nashua-based organization focused on resilient local food systems, received $375,000 to work with a developer to design and build a community solar project on land it owns in Weare, to ultimately benefit low- to moderate-income residential electric customers. Under the state’s Group Net Metering Program, the Regenerative Roots Association will serve as the host and 15 households will be members receiving on-bill credits. RRA will retain 15 percent, and 75 percent of the 85 percent generation revenue will go directly to participants’ residential electric bills. Households are expected to save an average of $1,388 annually.
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