Environment New Hampshire
Portsmouth Herald
Chelsea Shuman

GREENLAND — Homeowner Barry Krieger and his wife recently installed 20 solar panels on their garage roof in an effort to reduce the amount of money they spend each year to heat their home.

The 4.6 kilowatt system is used for 95 percent of the couple's electrical needs.

"This has been a dream come true," Krieger said, "to become so much more efficient and make my own power."
The government incentive of a 30 percent tax credit made the decision that much easier, according to Krieger, who is looking at an 11-year payback.

"We keep the heat at 69 or 70 (degrees Fahrenheit) all the time," he said, "and we are paying $1,500 per year to heat a 2,300 square foot home."
Jack Bingham, from SEA Solar Store, who did the installation, said that solar panels are a sound and practical choice for any homeowner.

"People are starting to look at their retirement options next to their long-term energy costs," he said, "and it makes sense to start being more efficient."
According to Bingham, once people try solar water heating or space heating, they start looking for other energy efficiency projects, and only good can come of such a trend.

Krieger agreed, as he and his wife do not use any chemicals, have water barrels to collect rain water and recycle, use a pellet stove for central heating (he purchased a local product which comes with a $6,000 rebate) and he now drives a Toyota Prius.

"We try to take our stewardship with a great deal of responsibility," he said.

Jessica O'Hare of Environment New Hampshire said that additions like the solar panels show the many benefits of solar energy, among them reducing harmful greenhouse gases.

"If people get on board, we can reduce oil consumption at 37 gallons per person," O'Hare said. "We can reduce the fossil fuels for both our heat and hot water needs, and we are ready to install these systems across the state."

Sen. Nancy Stiles, of District 24, said that the Kiegler home was very impressive and she is very interested in moving forward with energy conservation.

"I am extremely supportive of reducing our dependence on fossil fuels," she said, "and I think we have a great opportunity here."

Sen. Amanda Merill, who represents Durham, Lee, Rollinsford, Epping and Dover, and who is also on the Energy and Natural Resource Committee, agreed with Stiles.

"Programs such as the Renewable Portfolio Standard, which allowed for government incentives, and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative are extremely important moving forward for our communities and world wide," she said.

New Hampshire currently ranks seventh in the nation for oil savings from solar hot water.

O'Hare said this is only the beginning, and along with Bingham, wants to remind people that this isn't a project just for the wealthy, but for the average citizen.

"With the rebates offered from the government," Bingham said, "and the savings on your monthly bills, you get your investment back and then some."