News : Big Solar Project Proposed For Franklin

Jul 2, 2015

Originally Published in the Concord Monitor.

By Susan Doucet

For the past half century, two plots of land along River Street in Franklin have been used to grow feed for Daniel Webster Farm. The land could soon have a new purpose – one that would usher in a new era for the city.

The land is among the sites of a major solar development, that if approved, would be larger than all of New Hampshire’s current installed capacity combined.

The seven community solar garden projects throughout the city would total 8.5 megawatts. That’s more than the total megawatts of residential and commercial solar projects installed across the Granite State in the past seven years. And it’s more than eight times the size of the state’s current largest solar development in Peterborough.

Andrew Keller of New Hampshire Solar Garden, the company responsible for the projects in Franklin, said each proposed project in Franklin is 1.2 megawatts, which is capable of powering about 150 homes.

New Hampshire has 8 megawatts of solar energy currently installed, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.

Community solar gardens allow for shared energy through group net metering, which is in place after the passing of a state law in 2013. Group net metering allows for the sharing of proceeds from surplus electricity generation among group members. The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission was responsible for establishing rules to correspond with the law, which were finalized in January.

It has taken the last two years “to take it from a signed law to something that is functional in the marketplace,” he said.

“We’ve definitely had energy instability in our state,” Keller said. “This is one component to the solution we see.”

The community solar gardens and group net metering allow communities to generate a new source of income, utilize their land and create a new tax base.

Read the full story in the Concord Monitor