Capturing the Sun's Energy - A Favorable Climate
Well, we did it! In May 2018 when we purchased Mt. Liberty Lodging we were impressed by the south facing motel and wondered immediately the potential to produce solar electricity. We reached out to the Plymouth Area Renewable Energy Initiative (PAREI) for a free solar assessment. The folks at PAREI confirmed the motel roof line has great potential (82+ percent efficiency) to convert sunlight to electricity. The challenge was then to find a contractor to install a photo-voltaic (PV) system with an acceptable project cost payback. We requested, received and reviewed project estimates from several New Hampshire solar contractors. After getting an education on the economics of harnessing the sun’s energy, we chose Harmony Energy Works out of Hampton, NH to install a 16.5 kilowatt PV solar array on the motel roof April 18, 2019. If all goes well, we will produce enough electricity to cover the project costs by 2022!
How was this project and a three-year payback possible? The promotion of renewable energy through many complementary programs including
The Town of Lincoln zoning ordinance which allows roof mount solar systems. And, Lincoln does not charge property tax on 100 percent of the increased property value added by installing solar.
The State of New Hampshire supports solar projects through rebates offered by the Public Utilities Commission. And, NH has a Net Metering policy where credits are provided for energy sent back to the grid (beneficial for a seasonal motel during the winter shut-down when electric production continues but is not consumed by motel customers).
A successful grant application to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) provided 25 percent of the total project cost. Without this grant the payback on investment was beyond our comfort level. Harmony Energy Works was the only contractor that offered specialization with these grants.
Formed in 2004, PAREI has as their mission – promoting the use of renewable energy in the Plymouth, NH area and encouraging energy conservation and efficiency through education. Their expertise enhanced our commitment to move forward with solar.
US tax law provides both favorable depreciation schedules and tax credits to promote the installation.
Family members and friends also shared their enthusiasm for the project and their own successes harnessing natural energy.
Like our guests, we’re hoping for clear skies and sunshine! While you’re here you might be interested in checking out the solar energy production tracker. We hope to post a link to our website as well.