Shagbark Lumber and Farm Supplies Lights Up East Haddam School District
East Haddam, Connecticut – At 10:30 AM on September 9th, 2017 RER Energy Group will join Shagbark Lumber and Farm Supplies, our project partners, town officials and other local dignitaries at Shagbark Lumber and Farm Supplies located at 21 Mt Parnassus Rd, East Haddam, CT to officially commission the installation of Shagbark’s solar farm. This is the second solar project Shagbark Lumber has installed.
In 2014, working with the Connecticut Green Bank as both a consulting and financing partner, Shagbark lumber installed a 150 kW solar rooftop array that now provides 100% of their facility’s electrical needs. The strong performance of this array is what led Shagbark to consider another solar project. According to Julia Leonardo, Controller for Shagbark Lumber, “Since the success of our first solar project, it’s been our vision to build a solar farm that will provide low-cost power to others. If we could use our land, and enable our local East Haddam School District to derive significant savings on their electric bill through solar, that would go a long way to help us realize that vision.”
A lot of hard work went into making this project real. Under Connecticut’s Remote Net Metering regulations, ongoing agricultural use of the land by Shagbark was required in order for the Town of East Haddam to be able to get the best price for energy for the school system. This materially affected the options for ownership and financing of the project. Fortunately, RER’s financing partner General Energy Solutions (GES) was able to get comfortable with a non-traditional structure of owning a majority interest in the Solar Farm, with Shagbark as a minority partner, continuing to produce hay from adjacent land. Under this arrangement, GES will maintain and monitor the solar farm for the next 25 years.
In consultation with the Connecticut Green Bank, Shagbark was also able to win an award of Low Emission Renewable Energy Credits (LRECs) that provided additional financing support for the solar project. For every kWh of electricity produced by the solar array over the next 15 years, Shagbark and GES will receive, from Connecticut Light and Power (Eversource), a payment which helps pay for the installation over time. This, in turn, allows Eversource to meet its targets for producing electricity from renewable energy sources.
Another major hurdle that had to be overcome with this project was the engineering challenge posed by the slope of the land. Successfully managing this issue, as well as a number of regulatory issues that resulted from the unique partnership between the Town, Shagbark and GES, RER Energy Group (RER) was able to bring the experience needed to oversee building the system, within budget and on time. “It was our pleasure to work with Fred Hunt, Julie Leonardo, James Cerkanowicz and the rest of the Shagbark team of engineers, subcontractors, vendors and other support personnel to bring this project to fruition,” shared Mike Barnes, Chief Operating Officer of RER. “A wet spring combined with a complex deal transaction led to a compressed project schedule as all trades worked together to meet the project deadlines.”
“Shagbark is a terrific example of what can happen when you bring a team of committed professionals, willing and able to go the extra mile to find solutions that help a client bring a powerful vision to life,“ says Jim Kurtz, President of RER. “Solar projects need the coordination of a lot of professionals; we are proud of the work of our team on this effort, and grateful we were able to collaborate with so many great partners in helping Shagbark achieve their goal of bringing lower cost solar energy to their community’s school.”
The Solar Farm, consists of 4,554 ground-mounted, 335-watt photovoltaic solar panels, and covers nearly 6 acres. The system will produce more than 1,736,000 kWh of low-cost renewable energy annually; all of the energy will be passed on to East Haddam School District, reducing their electric bill by approximately 750,000.00 over the course of 25 years.
Note that the event will begin at 10:00 am with live music, food and activities. At 10:30 AM the new solar farm will be commissioned with speakers from partners and local officials.
About General Energy Group
GES is one the leading renewable energy companies with the expertise to provide customized solutions across the globe: to develop, engineer, construct and operate project to provide low carbon, sustainable futures. GES focuses on five core activities, Investments, Project Development, Project Management, EPC (Engineering, Procurement, Construction), and Operations and Maintenance (O&M). For more information visit www.gesyw.com.
About Shagbark Lumber and Farm Supplies
Shagbark Lumber is a family owned business since 1985. Specializing in lumber, hardware and farm supplies. They remain a staple of the community, always striving to meet all their customer’s needs. www.shagbarklumber.com
About RER Energy Group
RER Energy Group is an industry leader in providing cost-effective, high-quality solar systems throughout the United States and Latin America. The company has developed more than 45 megawatts of solar energy, obtaining over $30 million in grant proceeds for commercial, industrial, agricultural, municipal, and non-profit customers. For more information, visit www.rerenergygroup.com.