One of the state’s largest solar arrays stands to save the City of Keene millions of dollars while generating enough power to offset the electric load of nearly 100 homes. The recently completed municipal project includes 2,010 solar panels on the rooftops of the Keene Ice center and adjacent Public Works Department building.
The Keene City Council approved a resolution that encourages the city and its residents to eventually generate 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources. “This project is part of our work to have all electricity in Keene generated by sustainable renewable energy sources by 2030,” says Keene Mayor Kendall Lane. “We are very excited to be working with ReVision Energy in this development and look forward to future projects promoting renewable energy.”
The Keene solar array represents the largest New Hampshire project installed last year by ReVision Energy. The public works building and the police department will use the generated solar power, which will offset a significant portion of the city’s electric load while transitioning Keene away from fossil fuels.
The 643.2-kilowatt municipal project will generate close to 740,000-kilowatt hours of clean energy each year and will offset roughly 777,000 pounds of carbon pollution. Using solar power to generate electricity for the municipality is equivalent to taking 76 cars off the road each year or offsetting the carbon sequestered by 416 acres of forests or the carbon emissions from burning 817 barrels of oil.
Financing for the $1.35 million solar array is provided by a group of local impact investors through ReVision Solar Impact Partners, which own the array through a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the City of Keene. Under the terms of the PPA, the city initially agrees to purchase electricity at a negotiated rate below the cost of grid electricity, thereby saving taxpayer money without any capital expense. After five years, the city will have the option to purchase the system at a significant discount, enabling the municipality to generate free solar power for decades to come.
The Monadnock region is also home to Keene Housing (KH), an affordable housing nonprofit which has incorporated solar energy to reduce its operating costs in support of its mission. KH recently converted the majority of its Harper Acres properties to solar with ReVision Energy and will add solar arrays to 25 more properties at the Forest View complex this year. The Keene Housing projects are part of a comprehensive energy efficiency transition that also includes solar-powered air source heat pumps for heating and cooling.