Installers place panels on a rooftop array for Claremont MakerSpace in NHAt the Claremont MakerSpace, local artisans and craftspeople of New Hampshire’s Upper Valley turn their creative ideas into reality. Meanwhile, on the rooftop above, a new 57.9 kilowatt solar array is now turning sunshine into clean, local electricity.

Renovated from the Sawtooth Mill building known for its 3 sharply peaked roofs, the space is ideal for studios and workshops. Natural light floods in from a row of windows lining the north sides of each roof peak, while the southern faces (and an additional section of flat rooftop) are now covered with 178 solar panels that make use of the ample sunshine in a different way.

The array will produce roughly 69,072 kilowatt hours of electricity annually – the equivalent of taking 10 gas-powered cars off the road every year. Not only will it reduce the carbon footprint of the MakerSpace, it will save them upwards of $340,000 over the 40+ year lifetime of the array, allowing that money to go towards things like workforce development and educational programming rather than electric bills.

About the MakerSpace

A drone shot shows three roof peaks covered in solar panels on the roof of Claremont MakerSpace.

Solar panels line the southern faces of the “saw teeth” of the former mill building – meanwhile, windows on the north sides let in plenty of ambient light. Photo Credit: Steve Goldsmith

Run by local volunteers, the Claremont MakerSpace is a project of TwinState MakerSpaces, an nonprofit organization with the goal of enriching communities through collaboration and creativity. They held their grand opening in Claremont in the summer of 2018. After receiving a generous grant from the Northern Border Regional Commission to invest in solar, they partnered with ReVision to install an array in October of 2020.

The MakerSpace currently has shared tools and workshops for woodworking, precision machining, jewelry and metalsmithing, fiber arts, electronics, welding, robotics, graphic design, programming, and more, and is an ideal workspace for locals wanting to take classes, make use of the shared tools and work area, and collaborate or cross-pollinate ideas with other local craftspeople. The Claremont MakerSpace is just one piece of a larger economic and cultural revitalization happening in the city of Claremont – one that is now renewably and locally powered.