Mascoma Meadows is first N.H. ROC to go solar

LEBANON, N.H. — Mascoma Meadows, a 50-unit resident-owned community, will soon be the first ROC in New Hampshire to use solar power to generate some of its electricity.

The 384-panel solar array, to be installed by Brentwood-based ReVision Energy by the end of 2018, is forecast to save each of the co-op’s participating low- and moderate-income households nearly $270 annually.

Photo of Mascoma Meadows residents learn about the solar project in their community.
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Mascoma Meadows residents learn about the solar project in their community.

Annually, the project is expected to generate enough electricity to power a refrigerator for 121 years and will offset the carbon pollution equivalent of driving an average car more than 206,000 miles.

The array will be built on a half-acre of land donated to the co-op by the neighboring Abundant Life Church of God.

Its cost is covered by a $168,000 grant from the Renewable Energy Fund managed by the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission, and by an impact investor through a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).

The PPA enables Mascoma Meadows co-op to access the long-term economic and environmental benefits of solar electricity, while providing an opportunity for investors who share their values. After five years, Mascoma Meadows can purchase the array, at a discount, with financing from the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund.

Mascoma president Calvin Goude said he’s excited for Mascoma Meadows to be the first ROC in the state to tackle this project.

“Manufactured-home communities like ours are perfect places for sustainable-energy projects, and it will make the homes here even more affordable,” he said. “We appreciate the work the Vermont Law School and ROC-NH did to pull this project together and, of course, our neighbors at Abundant Life church for donating the land. We never expected that!”

ROC-NH, a program of the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund, is coordinating the project, with contributions and pro bono work from Atty. Elijah Emerson of Primmer, Piper, Eggleston & Cramer, and Vermont Law School’s Energy Clinic.

Tony Mendez, a student at the Energy Clinic who has worked on this project for two semesters, said, “It has been especially rewarding to work with the community to make this project a reality and ensure that Mascoma Meadows gets to keep the environmental benefits produced by the solar array to reduce the community’s own carbon footprint.”

The project has also been supported by Lebanon City Counselors Clifton Below and Karen Liot Hill and Energy and Facilities Manager Tad Montgomery, as well as by the NH Sustainable Energy Association and Liberty Utilities.

“The exciting part of this project is creating a model not just for New Hampshire resident-owned communities, but for ROCs across the country,” said Christa Shute, Vermont Law School’s Energy Fellow for Climate Justice. “The VLS Energy Clinic looks forward to seeing Mascoma Meadows into production and finding the next ROC to benefit from community-owned solar.”