U.S. Energy Secretary visits upcoming Manchester solar installation

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(l to r) U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig, U.S. Representative Chris Pappas, U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan on Sept. 10, 2021. Photo/Andrew Sylvia

MANCHESTER,N.H. – On Friday, U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm joined U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH), U.S. Representative Chris Pappas (D-NH-01) and Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig in a tour of a new solar farm off I-93 expected to be completed by the end of this year.

The new installation, located on a capped landfill site across the highway from Manchester Community College, will include over 8,000 solar panels upon completion and produce approximately 3.8 million kilowatt hours of energy to the local power grid, enough to power almost 500 homes for a year.

Craig, Pappas, Granholm and Hassan joined with several representatives from Kearsarge, the Manchester Department of Public Works , local IBEW electricians and others working on the project, which began installation this month after two years of planning and state permitting.

Granholm said the new project was an example of recommendations found in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Futures Study, adding that more comparable pieces of land that can not be put to many other uses as well as areas like rooftops should also be better utilized for future solar farms.

“It’s a shame that New Hampshire is Number 40 in the country in terms of percentage of its energy it gets from solar when it has such a huge capacity,” said Granholm. “We as a nation can get 40 percent of our energy from solar power by 2035 by using lands like this.”

Pappas and Hassan also praised the project, following Granholm from a roundtable earlier in the day in Portsmouth discussing offshore wind investment in New Hampshire.

“It was great to have Secretary Granholm here in New Hampshire to see firsthand the importance of investing in clean energy. The bipartisan infrastructure package recognizes that climate change is an existential threat to our economy, environment, natural resources, and way of life,” said Hassan. “This package critically invests in clean energy and works to modernize our electric grid, which will help us generate more renewable energy.”

“We are at a crisis moment in terms of our changing climate and the need to take serious action to reduce carbon emissions. That is why it is vital that we make needed investments in clean energy infrastructure that will create economic opportunity and jobs while addressing climate change,” said Pappas. “I’m honored to serve on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee where we are working to support resilient infrastructure and zero-emission transportation. We must also focus on investments in our grid and the development of domestic clean energy. This is a pivotal moment for our planet. What we do in the next few years will determine the lives and livelihoods of generations of people, and we have to act with the urgency and foresight our communities and these future generations deserves.”

A diagram of the project.