Vermont Business Magazine A new solar project benefiting Upper Valley Haven not only promotes a more sustainable future, it helps them save money and serve more people in its 40-year mission to provide food, shelter, education, and support services related to poverty in the Upper Valley.
The Net Metering Credits produced by the 150-kilowatt Newbury Scotch Hollow Solar project also benefits the Town of Newbury and Newbury Elementary School in the form of reduced power bills for 25 years. The project was successfully developed by Norwich Solar Technologies and is hosted on Town of Newbury land in a former gravel pit on Scotch Hollow Road.
“We are a very effective organization—94 cents of every dollar we raise go to program services. In addition, 93 percent of our revenues are charitable contributions,” said Executive Director Michael Redmond. “When an opportunity came up to save on our electric bill and do something good for the world and the state, it was a natural win on many levels.”
The impetus for the connection to solar power came from Community Impact Investors Allan Wieman and Jo Shute. They had previously led the effort to install solar power at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Upper Valley (“UUCUV”) in Norwich, Vermont, and they stepped in to lead the Upper Valley Haven project.
Another member of UUCUV, Dr. David Nierenberg, also serves on The Haven board. Dr. Nierenberg knew about the UUCUV project and suggested to Allan and Jo that the Haven would be a good candidate for a Net Metering Agreement (NMA). NMAs are often used to bring discounted power to nonprofits unable to take advantage of the tax credits and accelerated depreciation associated with renewable energy projects.
Allan and Jo agreed with this suggestion and after meetings with Michael and an approval of the project by the Haven’s Board of Directors, the partnership was formed. Allan and Jo were excited to work with The Haven. “We knew about The Haven because of its close relationship with UUCUV, and we wanted to support its work. The Net Metering Agreement provides a way to simultaneously contribute to the Upper Valley Haven and reduce carbon emissions, said Jo Shute.”
Thanks to the discount the Upper Valley Haven receives from the net metering credits produced by the solar array, the nonprofit will reduce their annual electric costs by nearly 30% and save approximately $172,000 over 25 years. “That’s a large amount of money we can put into services—as well as changing the overall structure of how power we use is generated, so we’re really excited,” said Michael Redmond.
“It was easy for us to get involved as Allan and Jo working with Norwich Solar took care of all the details. It allows the Haven to remain efficient, use resources wisely, seize opportunities to put more money into programs, and reduce our operating expenses,” says Redmond on the benefits of Net Metering Agreements. “It is also supporting efforts to create renewable energy resources, limiting carbon emissions. It couldn’t have been easier.”
Norwich Solar Technologies co-founder Troy McBride explains that, “This project falls under the work of our new Community Impact Investor Group, which now has more than 10 mission-driven investors.” One of the early investors, retired Dartmouth-Hitchcock MD Norm Levy, backed Twin Pines Housing’s 14-home Starlake Community solar project in Norwich.
“The Upper Valley Haven is a great organization that has done another great thing by going solar and lowering operational costs,” says Michael Redmond, “but we also want to highlight this type of impact investing used to fund this project that multiplies the power of donations.”
About the Upper Valley Haven
Since 1980 the Upper Valley Haven has provided temporary shelter and educational programming for homeless families and adults as well as food to anyone in need. The Haven offers support and fosters independence through four domains of service: Food, Shelter, Education, and Problem Solving. The Haven is open 365 days per year and never charges for any of its services. They serve over 14,500 people per year. https://uppervalleyhaven.org/
About Norwich Solar Technologies
Norwich Solar Technologies offers end-to-end solar electric services including: Development, Design, Engineering, Procurement, and Construction, Structured Financing, Operations and Maintenance. Clients include Educational Institutions, Utilities, Municipalities, Commercial and Industrial Enterprises, Farms, Nonprofits, and Small Businesses. https://norwichsolar.com