(19) 60 Foundry Street
Beth Caldwell, Managing Partner of RGBC Associates LLC, representing both RGBC and EMF. RGBC Associates LLC owns the building. EMF is the primary tenant in the building.
What motivated you to install solar?
Environmental concerns were our primary motivator. We know climate change is not a trivial matter. We are committed to do what we can for our planet’s future, where we are, with what we have. It turns out that investing in our solar project was a wise financial decision, in addition to being a moral choice driven by our values.
How many panels do you have, and if you know, how much energy are you producing, percentage of your electric usage?
We have a total of 272 panels at 60 Foundry Street. There are 206 panels on the roof of our commercial building. The ground mount solar array in our parking lot has 66 panels – six panels high by eleven panels long. Our 107 kW solar energy system was designed to offset 100% of our annual load through net metering. Most months our bill from Eversource says, “No Payment Due. Your account has a zero or credit balance.”
What has been the biggest benefit so far? What are you excited about?
Our solar investment was simply the right thing to do. Climate change is scary, and we need to remember that we are not powerless in facing it. We took an exciting step in reducing our carbon footprint. We hope others will do the same.
What were the obstacles to installing solar and what did you do to overcome them?
The cost of our project was intimidating at first. My plan had been to retire without debt, and I was very close to retirement age when we made the leap to solar. Savings Bank of Walpole understood the benefits of solar investment, and their commercial lending team didn’t hesitate to finance our system.
Don McCormick of Green Energy Options was very convincing when he said, “Most people do not yet realize what a strong and easy investment a commercial solar energy project is. It pays for itself by converting the money you are already spending on electricity and taxes, and using it to pay for a durable solar energy facility for you. If you pay taxes and use electricity, then it is cheaper for you to buy a solar energy project than to do nothing.” That proved to be true for us in 2019.
While the cost of solar is coming down, investment tax credits are lower today than they were a few years ago. I have learned a lot over the past few years about the advantages of investing in solar. I would encourage other business owners to consider the varied and significant benefits of installing a solar project.
What advice do you have for people considering installing solar?
Focus on the big picture, and remember that our planet’s future depends on each of us doing what we can to make a difference. Don’t be intimidated. Find an experienced, reliable company to work with you. (We had excellent results with Green Energy Options of Keene. I am sure there are others out there who also do good work.) Educate yourself; talk to your accountant; and talk to others who have solar installations. If it makes sense in your situation, Go for it!