Woodstock Station Brings Tradition into 21st Century with Solar
Solar At Work | January 28, 2014 | Posted by Fred Greenhalgh
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Nestled in the heart of the White Mountains, the Woodstock Inn Station and Brewery has been a fixture of the the North Woodstock community for almost 30 years. Owner Scott Rice says that’s all to do with a sense of place.
“I came here skiing once in college, and then I started coming up every weekend, and ended up settling here,” Scott says. “It’s a real friendly, traditional New England place with beautiful natural resources. There’s so much to do, and it’s a lot more affordably priced than other places where people can go on vacation.”
The Woodstock Inn has managed growth over the years to be consistent with the traditional character of the town, while expanding restaurant seats and accommodations. “We started with one old building which we restored. About 20 years ago we bought the old Lincoln Railroad station, which was slated to be demolished, and brought it here,” Scott says. “We love the character of all of these old buildings but it has presented challenges with energy. It has been an ongoing process, but we’ve taken advantage of a number of technologies and state and rebate programs to improve things as we go along.”
Going Solar in a Small Town
The latest energy improvement for Woodstock Inn is the addition of 20 Wagner solar hot water collectors onto the main roof of their restaurant, a system that will provide as much as 75% of their hot water use during the summertime by pre-heating their boiler system. The system has a predicted output of over 163 million BTUs of thermal energy annually, the equivalent of 1,164 gallons of heating oil.
“Really, I got into solar because of the economics,” Scott says. “With the available rebate programs, I can have a system that ultimately costs me 30-40% of its original installed cost, and is going to make my investment back in 5-6 years. Meanwhile, it’s a huge draw as customers love seeing that we are being environmentally responsible and making clean energy investments.”
Commercial projects like The Woodstock Inn are eligible for a 26% federal investment tax credit, MACRS depreciation, and in NH, a commercial rebate worth 25% of the project cost. The Woodstock Inn also benefited from a rebate program specific to its utility, the New Hampshire Electric Co-op, which was worth an additional $18,250.
“People come to this part of the world because they love the outdoors – the beauty of the mountains and forests and the real friendly towns that surround them,” Scott adds. “To us in the business it is really important that these natural resources stay intact, and moving to more sustainable sources of energy makes that possible. It feels good to know that our Inn is doing its part, and it’s good to see our customers appreciating that and coming more often because of it.”