New Hampshire Goes Solar with Borrego

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By Kathleen Zipp
Originally published on Solar Power World

Borrego Solar Systems, a Solar Power World 2014 Top 400 Contractor, and the Town of Peterborough, New Hampshire, today announce the start of construction of a 944 kilowatt (kW) solar system—the largest in the state—on nearly five acres of former wastewater lagoons on the site of the town’s wastewater treatment plant. By tapping solar power as an energy source, Peterborough will save between $12,000 and $25,000 per year in energy costs or nearly $250,000 to $500,000 over the term of the agreement.

Peterborough received a $1.2 million grant from the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission and a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Water Street Solar 1 LLC, a subsidiary of Borrego Solar. The grant and PPA have enabled Peterborough to install the system at no up-front cost. A PPA is a contract that transfers the cost of the installation and maintenance to a third party, which then sells the energy back to the town at a fixed and economical rate.

“By collaborating with Borrego Solar and seeking support from the state, we as a community were able to afford to go solar, in effect preparing us for a more financially sustainable energy future,” said Rodney Bartlett, Peterborough’s director of public works. “With this installation, we are not only saving on energy costs, but we are also protecting our budget from increases in electricity prices, employing local workers and offsetting 839 metric tons of carbon dioxide, the equivalent of pulling 179 cars off the road each year.”

About 60 percent of the approximate 1.2 million kilowatt hours generated by the array annually will go to powering the plant and the remaining 40 percent will power the town community center and other Town facilities. The ability to apply a portion of the energy is possible through virtual net metering, approved by New Hampshire legislators in July 2013, enabling system off takers to apply energy generated at one of their sites to another one of their meters. In Peterborough’s case, the solar array will return energy to Public Service of New Hampshire, which will then resupply the energy to the town without charging the town distribution or transmission fees.

“Peterborough is the largest project to utilize virtual net-metering in New Hampshire—a signal of what is to come in solar energy distribution,” said Mike Hall, CEO of Borrego Solar. “By enabling municipalities to install solar on the most ideal site or where energy is needed most, and then applying that energy to other sites, allows for an even greater number of communities to take advantage of solar. Expanding opportunities for municipalities and businesses to go solar is key to reducing our dependence on non-renewable energy sources. ”

This is Borrego Solar’s second installation on a wastewater treatment facility, and sixth in the water treatment and distribution industry.