solar energy

Sam Scherf / Flicker CC

  Just slightly more than a month after the nation’s biggest solar company moved into the New Hampshire market, another major renewable energy firm has followed suit.

Sunrun solar, a pioneer in the booming practice of leasing solar panels to home-owners announced it will offer its products to Southeastern New Hampshire starting this week.

However, it’s not the abundant sunshine that’s attracting these companies, it's likely has more to do with high electricity prices.

N.H. Lags Behind In Solar Power Production

May 12, 2015
charlesa46741 / Morguefile

New Hampshire lags behind the rest of New England when it comes to solar electricity production. But with the arrival of California-based SolarCity, there’s reason to believe New Hampshire could catch up. For more on solar power in the Granite State, we turn to David Brooks. He’s the author of the weekly Granite Geek science column for the Nashua Telegraph and he writes at Granite Geek.org as well. He spoke with NHPR's Peter Biello.
 

New Prospects For Solar Energy In N.H.

May 4, 2015
h080 / Flickr/cc

With the recent announcement that the country’s biggest solar company is coming to New Hampshire, some green energy advocates are hopeful for the industry’s prospects.  We’re looking at how Solar City’s arriving may affect the industry’s prospects here given that today, sun-power represents a tiny percentage of our overall energy mix.

Steve and Michelle Gerdes / Flicker CC

The biggest residential solar company in the country is coming to New Hampshire.

SolarCity, which in 2014 installed 40 percent solar panels nation-wide, and is the fastest growing solar company in the nation. Their sales have doubled every year since 2010, to the point where last year they installed solar panels on 100,000 homes.

But that’s likely not why you may have heard of them.

“It started 7 years ago, two brothers, Pete and Lyden Rive, who yes are first cousins with Elon Musk,” says Lee Keshishian, SolarCity’s vice president of east coast operations.

Julian- / Flickr Creative Commons

The New Hampshire Electric Coop will soon be the first utility in the state to fulfill a state-mandated requirement on how many customers are allowed to sell their solar energy back onto the grid. This has led some potential solar customers concerned about whether they will recoup their investment to bring their complaints to the Coop’s Board of Directors.

To get what this brouhaha is all about, you first have to know what net-metering is.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

In Peterborough, right next to the waste-water treatment plant, there’s what looks like a giant mud pit, with puddles covered with thick green algae.

“What was here was a waste water-treatment lagoon with water depths of around six to seven feet,” explains Rodney Bartlett, the town’s director of public works, as he watches as load after load of rock and gravel is dumped into the mud. “What we have in process is the water’s been removed, sludge has been removed and the filling process has started, and on top of that will be a one megawatt solar array.”

Via USDA website

Five New Hampshire small businesses are getting over $163,000 in USDA grants for solar projects estimated to power about 180 homes a year.

The businesses are 959 Boys of Portsmouth, Conner Bottling Works of Newfields, Furlone of Spofford L.A. Brochu Inc. of Concord and The Storage Barn in Newington.

The grants cover up to 25 percent of a project's cost. The federal funding will be matched with nearly $500,000 in other funding.

Sara Plourde / NHPR

Star Island – a 43 acre spit of land in the isles of shoals, more than 6 miles off the New Hampshire coast – is installing enough solar panels to power roughly 30 homes and a battery array to back them up.

The island is home to a hotel and conference center run by a non-profit with close ties to the Unitarian Universalist Church. Its efforts to go solar are actually culmination of years of work that some think are a model for how the future of energy could look on the mainland.

Solar Power: Brightening Prospects In New England?

Apr 24, 2014
mhsorens / Flickr/CC

This sun-fueled source is one of the fastest growing types of renewable energy in the country.  Although still a tiny piece of the energy portfolio, many are taking note of this expansion, including traditional utilities.  We’re looking at these brightening prospects for solar in New Hampshire and New England and the challenges that might cloud its future growth.

GUESTS:

mhsorens / Flickr Creative Commons

This sun-fueled source is one of the fastest growing types of renewables in the country.  Although still a tiny piece of the energy portfolio, many are taking note of this expansion, including traditional utilities.  We’re looking at these brightening prospects for solar in New Hampshire and New England and the challenges that might cloud its future growth.

GUESTS:

Photo Credit Orangeacid, via Fickr Creative Commons

Dr. Daniel Palanker is associate professor of ophthalmology at Stanford University, a member of the Hansen Experimental Physics Laboratory, and senior author on a paper published last month in Nature Photonics describing his work on photovoltaic retinal prosthetics.