- Team Lead
- Sandra Jones, Co-Director, Plymouth Area Renewable Energy Initiative
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- Project / Program Description
NHSolar Shares will provide an opportunity for community members to share thegift of locally generated solar energy with the grid, the planet and NHfamilies needing assistance with their electric bills. The project team willbuild community scale solar PV arrays where the value of the solar energy willbe credited to low income families' electric bills and provide them with energyeducation that will potentially further lower their utility costs.
ThePlymouth Area Renewable Energy Initiative (PAREI) voted recently to take on thedevelopment of NH Solar Shares as an arm of PAREI, to bring it from concept toreality. The idea originated fromconversations with the NH Electric Cooperative who is ready to providetechnical and administrative assistance to carry out this new concept. This project is building excitement because it will deploy more solar in ourregion and benefit families that have little to no access to solar PV energy.It is also exciting because a solar array of this type would be a gift thatwill keep on giving not only back to the environment but to low income familiesfor 30 or more years. It is also a gift to our electric grid and climate, strengthening ourenergy diversification by adding more locally generated clean energy to our utilities’power source mix.
Inaddition to building solar PV arrays this model will include finding ways forexisting solar PV system owners and newly installed solar PV installations tocontribute a portion of their solar energy to NH Solar Shares. It will also include a method where anynon-profit can fundraise and own a NH Solar Shares PV array and either directthe total value of the solar PV to NH Solar Shares or share only a portion oftheir solar PV production with low income families in the program.
Our initialgoal is to raise $515,000 to develop fundraising and marketing materials, buildtwo to three large PV arrays totaling 125kW and design and begin an energyeducation program. We will install the first solar PV panels after $150,000 hasbeen raised, construction is scheduled to begin the summer of 2017.
Learn more at www.nhsolarshares.org
- Project Updates
NHEC Foundation Grant Puts NH Solar Shares Over the Top
PLYMOUTH, NH – A matching grant of $10,000 from the New Hampshire Electric Co-op Foundation will allow NH Solar Shares to break ground on its first solar photovoltaic (PV) array that will share renewable energy with low income families.
The inaugural Solar Shares array It will consist of three or four pole mounted solar arrays serving as shade for the customers as well as a solar picnic pavilion.
The Plymouth Area Renewable Energy Initiative (PAREI) has partnered with New Hampshire Electric Cooperative (NHEC) to create NH Solar Shares, which aims to build small-scale solar arrays in one community at a time using local volunteers, donations and charitable foundation grants.
The majority of the PV electricity will be credited directly to the electric bills of low income families living in the region of the solar PV array. When the first array is built, NH Solar Shares will be recommended to families through established social service organizations and programs where income verification has already taken place. Solar Shares will be a voluntary program to which families will apply individually. In addition to wanting a portion of their power to be offset by solar energy, these families must also possess an interest in taking part in an energy education program.
Under the leadership of PAREI Co-Director Sandra Jones, NH Solar Shares met the matching fundraising challenge issued by the NHEC Foundation by raising more than $10,000 through individual donations. The Foundation’s matching grant will allow NH Solar Shares to break ground on the Plymouth PV array as soon as this spring, with expected completion by summer 2018.
“We’re always looking for creative ways to ease the financial burden faced by some of our members living on low or fixed incomes,” said NHEC President/CEO Steve Camerino. “NH Solar Shares does that, while also reducing the impact of electric consumption on the environment and increasing the portion of clean renewable energy on the grid. NHEC and NH Solar Shares is a partnership that accomplishes a lot for our members and the community.”
The donation caps a fundraising campaign that attracted sizable donations and pledges from businesses such as Dunkin Donuts Plymouth, The Common Man Family, Avangrid and ReVision Energy, as well as over $14,000 in donations from individuals wishing to support the project.
NH Solar Shares was recently awarded a $75,000 CDFA Business Tax Credit Grant. This allows businesses to dedicate a portion of their New Hampshire taxes to a local charitable project. Donation of any size are welcomed and appreciated. Businesses interested in pledging their support to NH Solar Shares should visit www.nhcdfa.org/tax-credits/current-projects.
The NHEC Foundation is funded by the generosity of NHEC members who participate in the Round Up Program. Participating members agree to have their monthly electric bill rounded up to the next dollar with the proceeds benefiting the NHEC Foundation. The average contribution is about $6 a year per person. Over 10 years, that small change has added up to more than $3 million, which has been awarded to non-profit organizations that are working to improve the quality of life in NHEC service territory. For more information about the Foundation and the Round Up Program, visit www.nhec.com/nhec-foundation.
NHEC is a member-owned, non-profit electric distribution cooperative serving 84,000 homes and businesses in 115 New Hampshire communities. www.nhec.com
PHOTO CAPTION: The New Hampshire Electric Co-op Foundation recently awarded a $10,000 grant to NH Solar Shares, which will allow the group to break ground on their first solar electric array. Marking the occasion were (from left) NHEC President/CEO Steve Camerino, Dunkin Donuts Plymouth owner and Solar Shares contributor Chris Swanson, PAREI Co-Director Sandra Jones, Plymouth State University student volunteer Sophie Edwardsson Brisere, NHEC Foundation Employee Board member Scott Knapp, NHEC Foundation Executive Director Sara Thielbar, NHEC Foundation Board Chair and NHEC Director Sharon Davis.
NH Solar Shares
A New Program Being Launched to Benefit Families,
the Environment and the Grid
Plymouth, NH: In partnership with the NH Electric Cooperative (NHEC), the Plymouth Area Renewable Energy Initiative (PAREI) is rolling out a new program called NH Solar Shares. NH Solar Shares will design and install solar PV arrays for the purpose of sharing solar energy with low income families, increasing the portion of clean renewable energy on the grid and building healthier, more environmentally sustainable communities.
These small community-scale solar PV arrays will be built one community at a time, inspired by a task force of local volunteers and funded through charitable donations, grants, the state’s solar incentive and a donated lease of land. The majority of the PV electricity will be credited directly to the electric bills of low income families living in the region of the solar PV array.
“We are excited to work with NH Solar Shares and support its effort to engage the community to make this concept a reality,” said Steve Camerino, President of NHEC. “As an electric cooperative, we are committed to finding creative ways to serve the needs and interests of all of our members. The NH Solar Shares project will reduce the impact of electric consumption on the environment while also easing the financial burden faced by some of our members living on low or fixed incomes, who juggle covering the costs of many of their basic needs.”
After the first array is built, NH Solar Shares will be recommended to families through established social service organizations and programs where income verification has already taken place. Solar Shares will be a voluntary program to which families will apply individually. In addition to wanting a portion of their power to be offset by solar energy, these families must also possess an interest in taking part in an energy education program.
Earlier this year, NH Solar Shares was chosen as a team in the national Community Solar Challenge being organized by the Department of Energy’s Sun Shot Division. Solar Shares was awarded $10,000 in technical assistance to help get the new program off the ground. The goal of NH Solar Shares within the national challenge is to build three solar PV arrays ranging in size from 25 – 50kW in communities served by NHEC by October, 2018. If the goal is met, the program will be eligible for large cash prizes.
The inaugural Solar Shares array will be built in Plymouth, NH on land donated by The Common Man Family of Restaurants, next to the Frosty Scoops ice cream stand located in the parking lot of The Common Man Inn & Spa on Main Street. When the organizers shared the project idea with Alex Ray, he commented, “I love the idea, go for the gold, let’s work together to make this happen!”
NH Solar Shares is quickly gaining a lot of early interest. "We enthusiastically support this effort”, said Roger Larochelle, Executive Director of the Squam Lakes Conservation Society. “Helping local families with renewable electricity contributes to building a stronger and more sustainable community, which is also our goal with land conservation."
“Granite United Way supports this program and is excited to see it brought to the Greater Plymouth area. We are thrilled to partner with PAREI and New Hampshire Electric Cooperative in this effort to increase the affordability of electric service for low-income families. Our Whole Village Family Resource Center in Plymouth will be working closely with social service programs to identify program participants and maximize this opportunity,” said Patrick Tufts, President and CEO of Granite United Way.
“NH Solar Shares is seeking pioneer donors and volunteers who will get behind this new concept and get involved with the effort,” said Sandra Jones, Co-Director of PAREI and Interim Manager of NH Solar Shares. “A donation to this cause is a ‘power full’ one, it helps the environment, it increases the percentage of renewable energy on our local electrical grid and it produces a gift to our local families every hour the sun shines for the next 25 years!”
Interested donors, volunteers or community groups wanting to assist with fundraising and hosting solar arrays are encouraged to contact Sandra Jones, NH Solar Shares, PO Box 753 79 Highland Street Plymouth, NH 03264; 603-536-5030 email@example.com NH Solar Shares LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Plymouth Area Renewable Energy Initiative - a 501-C 3 Not for Profit Tax Exempt Charitable Organization.
For more information visit www.nhsolarshares.org