City of Portsmouth completes solar energy projects at two locations

April 12, 2017

The City of Portsmouth is happy to announce the completion of two large solar energy arrays located at the Portsmouth High School and Portsmouth’s Madbury Water Treatment Plant. The combined total size of the arrays is 578 kilowatts DC and will produce more than 700,000 kilowatt hours of renewable electricity annually.

The City partnered with the Portsmouth-based SunRaise Investments (SunRaise), a commercial solar energy financing provider for New Hampshire and Massachusetts. This public-private partnership allows the City of Portsmouth to purchase below-rate electricity from the solar arrays for the next 25 years, saving an estimated $450,000, while SunRaise pays for the entire cost upfront, maintains, and operates the solar arrays for 25 years through what is known as a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).

Development for this project began in 2015 when the City received a renewable energy grant award from the State of New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission. The City partnered with SunRaise to continue development in 2016. SunRaise provided a proposal and accompanying solar PPA to the City, which was approved by the City Council and signed by the City Manager in May 2016.

The array at the Portsmouth High School is located on the roof of the school and will generate about 11% of the school’s energy needs, while the array at the Water Treatment Plant is ground mounted and will generate about 25% of the plant’s energy needs. The environmental impact of the generation from the two arrays is equivalent to a reduction in 525,000 pounds of coal burned or 55,000 gallons of gasoline consumed each year.

“It is great to see the completion of these projects that derive clean, pure energy from the sun while lessening our greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on other resources,” said City Manager John Bohenko. “I look forward to witnessing the long term benefits and hope to continue similar projects in the future.”

These environmental benefits can be tracked by students, staff, and passersby on LCD monitoring screens that will soon be installed in the lobbies of the High School and Water Treatment Plant. A third LCD screen will be installed at City Hall that will track the combined generation of both arrays.

“For our students to track these statistics is wonderful,” said Superintendent Steve Zadravec. “By seeing the tangible results of these projects, it gets our younger generations thinking about the importance of environmental planning and preservation.”

These projects also bring a great boost to the economy. The sub-contractors that performed the installations were all local; the High School array was installed by KW Management of Nashua, NH and the Water Treatment Plant array was installed by Solar Roof Systems of Lewiston, ME.

In addition to local contractors and professionals that were employed for the four-month construction period, hundreds of thousands of dollars flowed in to the local economy through materials procurement and engineering work. KW Management and Solar Roof Systems will be performing the long-term operations and maintenance at the respective arrays.

The City of Portsmouth is very pleased by the financial, environmental, and economic successes of this project. To view the environmental benefits associated with these projects, please reference the links below:

About SunRaise:

SunRaise Investments is a Portsmouth, NH based commercial solar energy developer and financier, specializing in partnering with municipalities and school districts to provide SunRaise-financed solar energy projects that reduce our customers’ electricity costs, engage our customers with classroom visits and live monitoring screens, and transition our region to a low-carbon economy.

Madbury Water Treatment Plant