Wastewater treatment plant to be site of largest NH solar project

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Feb. 21, 2014 -- The town of Peterborough, N.H., recently announced that its wastewater treatment plant will be the site of the state’s largest solar installation to date. It will be built on a five-acre area -- formerly a wastewater lagoon -- that lies adjacent to the facility.

Constructed by Water Street Solar 1, LLC, a subsidiary of Borrego Solar, the 941-kW (nearly 1-MW) project is nearly twice the size as the next largest solar project in the state located atop the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport Parking garage. Development is planned to begin this year and be completed by the spring of 2015.

The wastewater treatment plant's lagoons where the solar installation will be built (Phot credit: Town of Peterborough)

Peterborough will save between $24,000 and $57,000 per year on average, equating to a projected savings of between $500,000 and $1,200,000 over the 20-year contract. The power purchased from the solar energy system will come at $0.08/kWh, saving the town between $.01/kWh to $.03/kWh for every kWh produced by the solar farm. Accordingly, much of the produced energy will be used by the plant, and the rest will power the town community center and other Peterborough facilities.

The town will also pay zero upfront costs thanks to a $1.2-million grant by the NH Public Utilities Commission and a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Water Street Solar. A PPA is a contract that transfers the cost of the installation and maintenance to a third party, which then sells the energy back to the town at a fixed and economical rate. The grant program was awarded $4.2 million in 2013 for renewable energy projects and will receive an additional allocation for 2014 this July.

See also: "Solar Solutions: Utilities Harness Power of Sunlight to Reduce Costs, Save Energy"

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