Ribbon-cutting held for clean energy solar farm on Monday

Senator Jim Tedisco cuts the ribbon for a new solar farm in Oppenheim on Monday. Tedisco is surrounded by local boy scouts, girl scouts, representatives of Common Energy and Kearsarge Energy, and local representatives. (The Leader-Herald/Briana O'Hara)

OPPENHEIM — Representatives of Common Energy, Kearsarge Energy cut the ribbon to what will be the start of clean, cost efficient energy for its residents and local businesses.

There to cut the ribbon Monday was Sen. Jim Tedisco.

“We are moving away from our reliance on fossil fuel,” Tedisco said. “Secondly, it’s great to help businesses and big businesses, but it’s great to help taxpayers not only get efficient and effective energy, [but] get it at a less costly way, get it clean and the least of it is about how we’re protecting our environment and moving away from fossil fuels.”

In partnership with Common Energy, Kearsarge Energy developed a solar farm in Oppenheim. The 1.94 megawatt project is owned and operated by Kearsarge.

“Common Energy helps find people like you who want to save money with no risk. We’re signing up people to get the benefits and we share the revenue that’s generated that we get credits from as we’re selling electricity,” said Andrew Bernstein, managing partner with Kearsarge Energy. “We connect to National Grid. The sun comes in, gets converted through an inverter and then gets put back on the grid.”

The 12-acre solar farm is expected to save homeowners and renters 10 percent on their electricity and lower emissions in the community. Local residents can add solar energy to their existing National Grid account. The solar farm can accommodate approximately 300 electricity users.

You save money, there’s no two ways about it. No matter what you pay for electricity, as a homeowner, a resident, you’re going to pay less for electricity when you join the solar farm,” said Malcom Bliss, vice president of partnerships with Common Energy. “You’ll pay 10 percent less next week, you’ll pay 10 percent less in a month, you’ll pay 10 percent less in a year no matter what the rate of electricity goes you always pay less when you join a solar farm.”

The solar farm with its 5,544 solar panels is expected to generate about 2,300,000 kilowatt hours alternating current (AC) per year which will go into the local utility grid. The town will also receive tax revenues over the next 20 years from the solar farm.

“I think one of the most important things that we want to do is partner with organizations like Common Energy to try to get the benefits of this to the community, so that residents can save money, the county or the town depending where it is will get tax revenues, land owners can find another way to get a different rent for their land and Kearsage will sell the revenue and in over 20 years we’ll get a return for our shareholders,” Bernstein said.