School signs lease for solar array location

  • Dublin School hopes to have a solar array operational on campus by the end of summer.  STAFF PHOTO BY NICHOLAS HANDY

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 6/8/2016 6:56:23 PM

Dublin School is one step away from installing a 400-kilowatt solar array to offset the cost of electrical energy on campus.

The school has finalized the funding portion of the project, recently striking a 25-year power purchase agreement with Norwich Technologies of White River Junction, Vermont. The power purchase agreement calls for Dublin School to lease land to the solar company, where Norwich will build the solar array and sell power to the school.

“It’s been quite an educational process,” said Dublin School Head Brad Bates. “At one point, I started to lose hope with this project, but everything has worked out. It will all be worth it in the end.”

The last remaining step, according to Bates, is getting approval for the project through Eversource.

The energy company needs to allow Dublin School to tap into its net metering capacity, which is capped. Dublin School is unsure whether they will be approved or denied, according to Bates.

Through a power purchase agreement, Dublin School is able to take advantage of state and federal funding.

$1 million project

The school, a nonprofit organization, could not apply for the money, but Norwich Technologies was able to, according to Bates.

The project – expected to cost about $1 million – will be offset by a 30-percent federal credit and a $175,000 state grant.

Bates said beginning construction is contingent on Eversource’s approval, but if all goes well, Dublin School will be connected to the solar array before the start of the next school year.

Predicting how much the school will save per year on electrical costs per year is a challenge, said Bates, because factors like construction costs play a role in how much Norwich will charge per kilowatt-hour.

$34,500 in savings

Presently, the school pays $0.167 per kilowatt-hour, but will be charged somewhere near $.10 per kilowatt-hour for the solar energy, according to George Foote, a school trustee who has been helping with the project.

Using 515 megawatt-hours of energy per year, Dublin School could save more than $34,500 per year, according to current estimates.

The purchase agreement has a two-percent annual escalator on energy costs, according to Foote.

At the end of the 25-year agreement, the school can buy the array from Norwich at market value.

Nicholas Handy can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or He is also on Twitter @nhandyMLT.

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