In this inaugural blog for the Ammonoosuc Regional Energy Team, we'd like to reflect on the power of individuals to make a difference. Two examples stand out.
The first is Jack Cook, longtime leader of the Franconia Energy Team and later, the broader Ammonoosuc Regional Energy Team. Jack's commitment to introducing and instilling a new level of energy awareness in the North Country was only surpassed by his willingness to pioneer renewable energy solutions in his own home. First came solar arrays and batteries and then the wood pellet furnace followed. Anyone who had interest in adopting a new and cleaner way to heat or light their home could count on first-hand data and experience from Jack. His impact can also be seen in the growing number of wood pellet furnace installations at schools and municipal buildings in our area - important changes that freed up precious budget dollars via less expensive heating and also contributed to the growth of our local economy.
Even though Jack is stepping away from a leadership role, we are still feeling inspiration from his drive and commitment. Thanks, Jack.
The second is a group of individuals and secondary schools who presented precise and comprehensive data about their pioneering solar projects at our recent Ammonoosuc Regional Energy Fair. David Strange and Carl Martland are residents of our area who risked time and money to oversee the installation of solar PV and solar hot water for their homes. The result? For David, it was an annual reduction in energy costs from $4,000 to $1,000 (or to $500 if his Renewable Energy Credits from metering electricity back into the grid are included.) For Carl, it was almost 200 less gallons of oil and a savings of $620 each year, plus an 11% lifetime return on his investment in the solar system.
Taking these same learnings to an institutional level, presentations from Saint Johnsbury Academy and the White Mountain School went further to demonstrate how major solar projects not only recover or actually make money for these schools, but also serve as an educational tool for a student body committed to a sustainable planet.
The simple truth is that you can save money right now - with just the amount of sunshine we normally experience here in the North Country - using today's solar panel technology.
These individuals and schools are pioneers who are carving the "first tracks" for solar in our region, and we thank them for their contribution to change.