Archive for May, 2011

Town of Manchester, ME Fire Station Powered by Solar

Thursday, May 26th, 2011
Fire Station Solar for Town of Manchester, MaineThe solar electric system on the fire station in Manchester, Maine will provide more than half the power for the building

The Town of Manchester, Maine, has one of the first solar-powered fire stations in the state! Last month we finished installation of a 9.2kw grid-tied photovoltaic array, which will provide over 11,000 kWh of clean energy annually – or roughly half of the power used in the facility.

The Kennebec Journal reported on the project. Keith Edwards writes:

A new array of 44 solar panels atop the fire station is expected to supply about half the electricity the building needs.

“It’s in, it’s making electricity right now,” [Town Manager E. Patrick] Gilbert said of the system.

The system is connected to the power grid, so when it is producing more power than is needed at the fire station, that excess electricity goes into the grid, and the town will get a credit on its bill from Central Maine Power Co. for that electricity.

“Whatever we don’t use dumps back into the grid,” Gilbert said. “There will be good (electricity-generating) days and bad days.”

… Gilbert said the location is expected to allow the panels to work at about 95 percent of their capacity … He said he hopes to ultimately make the system’s monitoring information available on the town’s website.

The project was supported by a grant from Efficiency Maine made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Barnstead, New Hampshire Solar is One Small Way to Change the World

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011
Barnstead, NH - Solar Power
Bob Emory’s 4.7kw grid tied solar electric array will offset over 7,600 lbs of CO2 emissions each year.

On a clear day you can see Mt. Washington from Bob Emory’s home in Barnstead, New Hampshire. With such vibrant natural splendor in one’s backyard, it’s hard not to care passionately for the rugged landscape that characterizes Northern New England.

Affectionately calling himself a “treehugger,” Emory says that “Solar has been on my radar for decades,” ever since the days when lead acid batteries were the norm.

With the development of grid-tied solar, which interties directly with the electric grid and requires no moving parts, Emory felt that the technology had finally come of age. And with prices of coming down and a generous 30% federal tax credit available, the economics worked out, too.

Solar Power and the Big Picture

With all of the troubles in the world, Emory feels good that his solar energy system is making a tangible difference, reducing CO2 emissions in the region by offsetting his home’s power use. “I can’t stop tsunamis,” he says, “So solar is the next best thing.”

He is a loyal attendee of the Common Ground Fair held each September in Unity, Maine, and it was there he bumped into ReVision Energy. Apparently, our reputation precedes us as he remarks that “I was really just making sure you didn’t do something that ruled you out.”

So far, so good – he feels great about his decision to choose us as his partner in transitioning to renewable energy, which he felt was summed up the first words one of our installers said when we arrived on the job site – “Thank you for going green.”

The System

Emory’s system consists of 4.7kw of grid-tied solar electric panels that will produce around 5,875 kWh of clean solar electricity each year. Bob reports that during recent sunny spring days his system reports an output of around 32.5 kWh, power he is happy not to be buying from PSNH!

With PV just installed, Bob is already talking about solar hot water for his home – particularly because of the generous New Hampshire state rebate.

“I have nothing but very high praise from start to finish,” Emory says, “ReVision is a company who stands behind their systems and has been personable throughout the process. I look forward to many years of solar power ahead!”

Latest from New Hampshire: Reserve Now to Get Solar Hot Water Rebate, RGGI To Stay

Monday, May 16th, 2011
Gorham, New Hampshire - Solar Hot Water
A recently installed solar hot water system in Gorham, New Hampshire

Now’s the time to get in your reservation if you want to benefit from New Hampshire’s generous residential solar hot water rebate (averaging $2,600 for most homes).

We’ve received word that the reservation window has been reduced from 12 months to 3 months (that is, the window you have between submitting a pre-approval and having your installation completed), per request from the DOE.

The state is encouraging homeowners to complete all of their solar hot water installations by this October. Due to the popularity of the program we encourage you to contact us today if you want to get a system installed this season. The commercial rebate program still looks good.

The good news is that financially the program still has plenty of funds, though we are told most of the DOE money (which funds the $2,000 portion of the rebate) has already been committed. In general, the solar rebates made possible by ARRA funds are running out, so rebates may likely never be as good as they are today. With oil prices high, and set to go higher, the time is really right for solar!

Click here to see the whole update from New Hampshire PUC.

What About RGGI?

In February/March of this year New Hampshire shocked much of the Northeast by presenting a bill that would pull the Granite State out of RGGI, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. We called upon lawmakers to think about the long-term implications of such a move and stand up to support RGGI.

This past week, the NH Senate voted to revise rather than repeal RGGI. Businessweek reports:

The Senate voted 16-8 Wednesday to approve an amendment proposed by Senate Republican Leader Jeb Bradley to a House bill. The amendment retains the state’s participation in the program but limits how the money is spent by dedicating it to well-established energy efficiency programs run by the utility companies.

The amendment replaces a bill passed by the House in March that would end the state’s participation in RGGI, but the Senate lacks the votes to override a gubernatorial veto of that legislation. Bradley’s proposal is meant as a compromise.

Gov. John Lynch has not said he would veto the House bill, but he opposes efforts to end New Hampshire’s participation in the greenhouse gas initiative.

“You can’t always get what you want,” Bradley said, “but what we need today is good government. … We have got to fund programs that work.”

Bradley estimates New Hampshire’s program costs the average ratepayer 35 cents per month. His proposal would drop the monthly cost to 17 cents.

Full story here:

The Latest from Maine

Legislation that will continue Maine’s solar rebates for the foreseeable future is expected to pass, however the program still has not been given an alternative funding mechanism yet. While the tract looks promising, we still urge you to contact your state legislators if you have not already and ask them to support solar rebates. For those who have advocated on behalf of solar rebates so far… thank you!

We understand around $500,000 remains in the program, which should sustain the ME state solar rebates for at least the next 6 months. We’re hoping to see an effective funding alternative make it into place for a more sustainable continuation of the program before the current funds are exhausted.

Town of Thomaston Solar Open House

Saturday, May 14th, 2011
Time: Saturday, May 14, 11AM – 1PM
Location: Town of Thomaston’s Pollution Control Department, 33 Clark St, Thomaston (off Booker Street)

Town of Thomaston solarOfficials from the town of Thomaston and representatives from ReVision Energy will host a solar open house to showcase the town’s recent solar installation at the Water Pollution Control Department. Citizens of Thomaston and neighboring towns are encouraged to visit the facility at 33 Clark St. on Saturday, May 14 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The focus of the open house will be the 18 kilowatt grid-tied solar electric (photovoltaic) system that ReVision Energy installed on the main roof of the Pollution Control Department in November of 2010. The system will produce 23,000 kilowatt hours each year and eliminate 16 tons of CO2 from the environment annually.

Guests will have the opportunity to see the solar energy system first hand, learn about the equipment used, and see how grid-tied solar technology works. Light refreshments will also be served.

Clark Street can be reached from Booker Street off Route 1 in downtown Thomaston.

Town of Thomaston’s Pollution Control Department, 33 Clark St, Thomaston (off Booker Street)

Rain Barrel Event Attracts Over a Dozen to ReVision’s New Hampshire Solar Showroom

Friday, May 13th, 2011

On a beautiful sunny spring day, more than a dozen participants came out to build rain barrels with ReVision Energy and NH Coastal Protection Partnership‘s Dave Anderson. Anderson lead the workshop, showing participants how to build their own water and energy saving rain barrels out of recycled food grade plastics.

Below is ReVision’s New Hampshire office manager Heather Fournier, who had to take a closer look:
New Hampshire DIY Rain Barrel Workshop
Our event wrapped at 1pm – leaving just enough time for participants to get home and put their rain barrel in place before a refreshing spring rainstorm came through to test out the new barrels!

NH Coast reports that they’ve now distributed 40 of their homemade rain barrels in just 42 days! This includes our event, demos at various garden shows, and an Earth Day event at Dunbarton Elementary School.

The rain barrel fun isn’t over yet – during our Exeter NH Solstice Grand Opening Bash on June 17th… we’ll be raffling off a NH Coast rain barrel as a door prize, and offering great food, drink, and entertainment for everyone!

Why Care About Rain Barrels Again?

The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) has recognized rain barrels as a Do-It-Yourself Stormwater Solution For Your Home. Left unabated, stormwater run-off can quickly transform into run-off pollution. “In New Hampshire, stormwater contributes to over 80 percent of the surface water impairments in the state,” according to NHDES.

Each NH Coast rain barrel contains 55 gallons of stormwater when full, helping homeowners take a small chunk out of their stormwater footprint. Rain barrels can be also be used to redirect stormwater into a dry well or rain garden, allowing rainwater to infiltrate into the ground as nature intended.

A few important pieces of NH water quality news made headlines this week:

Thanks again to NH Coast for helping us put on a great event! ReVision has now donated $1,000 to their water conservation efforts, between a $500 purchase of rain barrels and our April “Check in for Charity” social media fundraising campaign.