Jarvis Solar Panel Field: 500 kW AC solar array
Start Date: June 15th, 2016 // Completion Date: September 13th, 2016
Droning in a winter wonderland
General Solar power information:
Every hour the sun beams onto Earth more than enough energy to satisfy global energy needs for an entire year. Solar energy is the technology used to harness the sun's energy and make it useable. Today, the technology produces less than one tenth of one percent of global energy demand.
Many people are familiar with so-called photovoltaic cells, or solar panels, found on things like spacecraft, rooftops, and handheld calculators. The cells are made of semiconductor materials like those found in computer chips. When sunlight hits the cells, it knocks electrons loose from their atoms. As the electrons flow through the cell, they generate electricity.
How does solar power work?
The solar panels are made up of photovoltaic (PV) cells, which convert sunlight into direct current (DC) electricity throughout the day. A discreetly placed inverter converts the DC electricity into alternating current (AC) electricity, which is what your business utilizes. When your solar power system produces more power than you need, it feeds the power back into the electricity grid.
Jarvis Cutting Tools and Independence Solar:
ROCHESTER — "One of the oldest manufacturing companies in Rochester that’s been a fixture in the community for more than five decades is now making a leap into the future by building one of the largest private solar fields in the state.
Jarvis Cutting Tools is currently constructing a 500,000 kilowatt solar array in front of their property, located on Jarvis Drive off of Route 125. According to President Costikyan Jarvis, he said this is the right move for the company to not only cut production costs, but to capitalize on incentives for producing solar energy.
“We think it’s good for the company, good for the employees, and good for the environment,” he said. “We have plenty of land, so this is the right time to do it.”
Jarvis Cutting Tools, which currently employs about 100 people, moved its operations from North Attleboro, Mass., after building the facility in Rochester in 1967. They manufacture cutting tools for other manufacturing companies that enable them to make the internal threads in their products. For example, Jarvis said they produce the cutting mechanism that allows an oil filter to be screwed onto car engines.
“We make the tools that make the internal threads in a hole,” Jarvis said. “We work with industrial consumers that want a measureable advantage over competitors, so we develop exclusive solutions for their needs.”
Jarvis, the fifth generation to be involved in his family business, said any excess power generated would be routed to the electrical grid and sold to Eversource. As with many solar fields operating in the northern latitudes that sees reduced sun in the winter, Jarvis will still be connected to public power, primarily because of their manufacturing schedule.
“We will certainly use the power we make,” he said. “We’re still going to be on the grid because we run a second and third shift where there’s not a lot of sunlight to make power.”
Jarvis utilized the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission Commercial and Industrial Solar Incentive Program, which offers rebates and financing on new construction up to 50 kW. Solar projects are allowed to surpass that capacity, but are not eligible for the full tax rebate or financing. The program was funded for $3,886,000 last year.
Jarvis said it was a “long effort” by many including the Public Utilities Commission to get the project approved, and he lauded those involved in the local permitting process with the City of Rochester, including the Planning Board and fire and police departments.
Connecticut-based Independence Solar is the developer, with KW Management hired on as the Electrical Contractor and Veno Construction the civil contractor.
With 2,100 solar panels still left to be erected, Mark Weissflog of KW Management said it should take about another six weeks for completion, with the system going online and producing power by early August.
The added benefit of producing solar energy — aside from the environmental — is a reduction in energy costs that can be returned to a company’s bottom line, although that return is not normally seen for a few years after the initial investment has been paid off.
“It’s neutral for seven years,” Jarvis said. “There’s some benefit, but the real benefit kicks in down the line.”"
Sources: National Geographic, Independence Solar, and Fosters.com