solar power

Sara Plourde / NHPR

Life on New Hampshire’s Isles of Shoals isn’t always the same as it is for those of us on the mainland. But a solar energy project there may point the way toward the future of energy all over the region.

Rob_ / Flickr CC

Recently Eversource Energy, formerly known as PSNH, announced it would sell off its power plants. That would make New Hampshire’s electricity suppliers separate from its electricity producers - at least for a while. A new bill in front of the State House would make it easier for electric utilities to own what are called “distributed energy resources,” which refers primarily to solar power.

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.”

20110816_suecia_450
Anna Fuster / Flickr Creative Commons

The Currency is our ongoing look at economic and business news in New Hampshire. 

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:

Rob_ / Flickr CC

There’s an experiment beginning in the Upper Valley: three communities are in the midst of a blitz attempting to double the number of solar panels in their towns. It’s called Solarize Upper Valley, and it’s being kicked off this week.

Plainfield and Cornish, combined, have fewer than 4,000 residents, but a pretty sizable number of them are considering forking over around eighteen grand to put solar panels on their roofs. The night of the kickoff event, the main street of Plainfield, was on lined both sides, for about as far as you could see.

Tai Viinikka, courtesy Flickr

For some time now in New Hampshire, consumers and businesses who install and use solar panels have been able to earn refunds for the power they generate and return to the electric grid. This is known as “net metering.”

A state law passed last year makes it possible for some consumers to participate in net metering and earn refunds without having their own solar arrays.

Tai Viinikka, courtesy Flickr

We’ve been talking about energy a lot lately in New Hampshire – debates over wind farms, jet-fueled turbines generating power during peak demand, and, of course, Northern Pass.

There’s one energy project that hasn’t gotten much attention lately – a project in Peterborough that would create the largest solar power array in the state.

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:

Tai Viinikka, courtesy Flickr

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine


Dear EarthTalk: I’m getting my roof redone and have heard about solar shingles. Are they available—and are they practical for the Northeast?-- John Denson, Glastonbury, CT

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

For the most dedicated environmentalists, small scale renewables, right in our back-yard are the gold standard of energy generation. In the final installment of this weeklong look at New Hampshire’s energy future, we consider what a more distributed grid might look like.

Along with smart-grid, micro-grid is the newest buzz word in the energy world. Basically it’s a little island of power lines coupled with its own source of energy, that is still wired into the broader grid. They’re not totally self-sufficient but can generate their own electricity for short bursts when needed.

Skating on Ice Made by the Sun

Jul 10, 2012
(Photo by Sarah Reynolds)

As summer hits Cape Cod, out come the fishing rods, sailboats, and…. Hockey pucks?  In Falmouth, Massachusetts, youth hockey leagues and recreational skaters are carving up the ice in a brand new ice rink this month – one that’s powered by summer sunlight.  Independent producer Sarah Reynolds has the story.