Energy Strategy: facilitate an increase in solar installation using successful models of residential and community-based solar power, including solar thermal. Solar Thermal Greenhouses
There is a widespread misperception that solar energy is not viable for northern climates. Germany, for example, had installed by the end of 2012 about 30 gigawatts of solar capacity, providing between 3 percent and 10 percent of its electricity, and its solar resources are comparable to Alaska, much less than Northern New York. (Washington Post, Feb 8, 2013) The schools, homes and other buildings that currently have solar panels or solar thermal systems installed should become demonstration sites for their communities. New community-based solar projects need to be piloted and widely publicized. Each County across the region should have successful highly visible solar projects that become the model for future energy developments. Neighbor to neighbor dialog is a winning strategy in the North Country.
Coordinate between municipalities to apply for joint-funding for solar installations. Collaborative efforts can result in more effective distribution of resources. Installations can be used to provide energy for municipal facilities, and net metering can further reduce operating costs. The Keene Solar Project proposes to build an engineered field of panels on top of the longclosed landfill, now a transfer station as a pilot for other closed landfill sites, which are ideal for solar installations.
Community-based Virtual Net Metering Pilot
Identify a pilot project for community-based-virtual net metering. Use the findings to support an expansion of the existing capacity of solar power for residential, commercial, and institutional applications. The Keene Solar Project can serve this project goal as well. 79
Establish a pilot program to convert a selection of seasonal greenhouses from oil heat to solar thermal with the goal of reducing GHG emissions, enabling year-round operations and employment, and providing locally produced food year-round. Currently, a highly productive and innovative small scale farm in the heart of the Adirondack Park has greenhouses running 8 months of the year with supplemental heat provided by electricity, propane or fuel oil. This proposal reflects a new, transformational, approach in the North Country that utilizes solar thermal and raised beds, to gain a 12 month/year operation. The Rivermede Farm Solar Thermal Greenhouse Project has 3 elements: 1) change 4 operating greenhouses from oil fired heat and that are currently operated 8 months out of the year to Solar Thermal greenhouses operated 12 months out of the year, 2) develop and use performance metrics to assist other farms in making similar decisions, 3) share lessons learned from project experience and performance metrics with Adirondack Harvest and 2013 North Country Clean Energy Conference. The project is expected to remove 1800 gallons of fuel oil, or 46,800 lbs of CO2, from the environment, move 3 seasonal positions (currently) to 2 full time positions post project completion.
North Country Region Sustainability Plan