ReVision proposes community-owned solar field in Jaffrey

Planning Board member Gary Arceci and Select Board ex-officio Franklin Sterling ask questions during a presentation of a plan to build a community-owned solar field on Jaffrey town land.

Planning Board member Gary Arceci and Select Board ex-officio Franklin Sterling ask questions during a presentation of a plan to build a community-owned solar field on Jaffrey town land. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI

By ASHLEY SAARI

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Published: 04-11-2024 8:16 AM

ReVision Energy is proposing construction of a community solar farm on land owned by the Town of Jaffrey.

Representatives of ReVision appeared before the Jaffrey Planning Board on Tuesday for a review of a plan, which would include a 1.3 MW ground-mounted solar farm, which would be built at 110 Old Sharon Road, on the town’s capped landfill.

The solar farm would work on a community model, meaning residents could purchase shares of the farm, benefiting from the energy produced and sharing in its costs. Megan Ulin, a project developer for ReVision Energy, said this is a model the company has already done in Maine, but it would be the largest community farm in New Hampshire.

“It provides New Hampshire residents the opportunity to participate in solar energy without having potentially the roof space to do it on their own properties, or without owning their own homes,” Ulin said.

Ulin said the capped landfill was a “unique opportunity” for a partnership with the town. While eventually, any Eversource customer could purchase a share in the farm, through the end of April, the company is offering exclusive rights to Jaffrey residents to purchase shares.

When asked how many shares had been sold to date, ReVision representatives said only a very small amount, though they did not have the exact numbers.

According to ReVision, the model works by having power that is generated by the solar farm fed into the electrical grid, which is then distributed to the shareholders by Eversource, as usual. Members work with ReVision to determine how much of a share of the farm would cover their usual electrical needs, and can purchase that percentage of the farm. The percentage of the kilowatt-hours produced by the farm would then show up as a credit on their electricity bill.

This model allows the shareholders the benefits of solar, including the full federal tax credit and net-metering benefits, as if they had the panels on their property.

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The cost of the shares can be paid for up front, or financed. Those who purchase shares in the farm sign up to own them for up to 25 years, with options for two five-year extensions. Those who purchase shares, but then move, can keep their shares if they remain an Eversource customer, or sell their shares if they move out of the area. Sales of shares can be done privately or through ReVision Energy.

The Planning Board did not take a vote on the proposal on Tuesday, instead continuing the hearing to its May meeting, but did make several other decisions related to the proposal. Members voted to waive certain requirements, including a landscaping plan, as the farm will be mostly shielded from neighbors and the road; soil testing, as the site is a landfill cap with known materials; and a full site survey, as the farm will sit on a small portion of a much larger property.

The board also found that the farm would not have a regional impact.

Due to recent additional filings by ReVision, which the planning office and board had yet to fully review, and some pending applications on ReVision’s side, the board decided not to enter deliberations on the plans on Tuesday, voting unanimously to continue the hearing.

The Planning Board is scheduled to meet next on May 14 at 6 p.m.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 603-924-7172, Ext. 244, or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on X @AshleySaariMLT.