A matching grant of $10,000 from the New Hampshire Electric Co-op Foundation will allow NH Solar Shares to break ground on its first solar photovoltaic (PV) array that will share renewable energy with low income families.
The inaugural Solar Shares array will be built in Plymouth, NH on land donated by The Common Man Family of Restaurants, to the right of the Frosty Scoops ice cream stand on North Main Street in Plymouth. It will consist of three or four pole mounted solar arrays serving as shade for the customers as well as a solar picnic pavilion.
The Plymouth Area Renewable Energy Initiative (PAREI) has partnered with New Hampshire Electric Cooperative (NHEC) to create NH Solar Shares, which aims to build small-scale solar arrays in one community at a time using local volunteers, donations and charitable foundation grants.
The majority of the PV electricity will be credited directly to the electric bills of low income families living in the region of the solar PV array. When the first array is built, NH Solar Shares will be recommended to families through established social service organizations and programs where income verification has already taken place. Solar Shares will be a voluntary program to which families will apply individually. In addition to wanting a portion of their power to be offset by solar energy, these families must also possess an interest in taking part in an energy education program.
Under the leadership of PAREI Co-Director Sandra Jones, NH Solar Shares met the matching fundraising challenge issued by the NHEC Foundation by raising more than $10,000 through individual donations. The Foundation’s matching grant will allow NH Solar Shares to break ground on the Plymouth PV array as soon as this spring, with expected completion by summer 2018.
“We’re always looking for creative ways to ease the financial burden faced by some of our members living on low or fixed incomes,” said NHEC President/CEO Steve Camerino. “NH Solar Shares does that, while also reducing the impact of electric consumption on the environment and increasing the portion of clean renewable energy on the grid. NHEC and NH Solar Shares is a partnership that accomplishes a lot for our members and the community.”
The donation caps a fundraising campaign that attracted sizable donations and pledges from businesses such as Dunkin Donuts Plymouth, The Common Man Family, Avangrid and ReVision Energy, as well as over $14,000 in donations from individuals wishing to support the project.
NH Solar Shares was recently awarded a $75,000 CDFA Business Tax Credit Grant. This allows businesses to dedicate a portion of their New Hampshire taxes to a local charitable project. Donation of any size are welcomed and appreciated. Businesses interested in pledging their support to NH Solar Shares should visit www.nhcdfa.org/tax-credits/current-projects.
The NHEC Foundation is funded by the generosity of NHEC members who participate in the Round Up Program. Participating members agree to have their monthly electric bill rounded up to the next dollar with the proceeds benefiting the NHEC Foundation. The average contribution is about $6 a year per person. Over 10 years, that small change has added up to more than $3 million, which has been awarded to non-profit organizations that are working to improve the quality of life in NHEC service territory. For more information about the Foundation and the Round Up Program, visit www.nhec.com/nhec-foundation.
NHEC is a member-owned, non-profit electric distribution cooperative serving 84,000 homes and businesses in 115 New Hampshire communities. www.nhec.com