Excerpt from “Half-acre array of solar panels goes live at the MacDowell Colony” published on the Ledger Transcript.
A new half-acre array of solar panels at The MacDowell Colony has begun offsetting 74 percent of the 450-acre property’s electrical needs each year. The project is a major move forward for the nation’s first artist residency program as it continues efforts to improve efficiency in its buildings and reduce fossil fuel consumption.
The photovoltaic panels, which started producing electricity for MacDowell last Tuesday, will supply about 186,000 kWh each year — more than enough for Colony Hall, the Colony’s largest structural consumer of power, which houses administrative offices, the kitchen, dining room, laundry, and gathering space for artists. The installation will prevent about 282,300 pounds of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere each year.
“This system is part of a long-term strategy MacDowell has been pursuing since 1992 to renovate studios and common buildings to reduce both energy loss and our dependence on fossil fuels,” says MacDowell Resident Director David Macy. “We started talking solar panels on Colony Hall during renovation planning in 2007.”
As a charitable nonprofit, the Colony can’t access federal incentives to help defray overall costs of such a project, so Board Member Bob Larsen of Concord introduced the Colony to ReVision Energy of Exeter, a solar energy company that offers turnkey installations. ReVision works in tandem with IGS Solar, a commercial and residential solar provider that invests in renewable energy projects for nonprofits. IGS Solar financed, owns, and operates the solar project, and is the beneficiary of federal and state incentives. MacDowell has entered into a 20-year power purchase agreement with IGS Solar.