This summer’s record setting temperatures served to place emphasis on the fact that global warming has arrived regardless of all the rhetoric being presented on both sides of the debate. An enterprising pair of entrepreneurs by the name of Greg Soho and Jason Archambeault, who purchased the Granite Air Center LLC back in July of 2012, has embraced solar technology at their building at the Lebanon Municipal Airport and will soon be reaping the rewards.
Granite Air Center is the region’s premiere Fixed Base Operator (FBO) based at the Lebanon Airport. They provide world class FBO services including refueling, parking, hangar storage, de-icing, aircraft maintenance, concierge services and much more to aircraft arriving at the local airport. Like any corporation faced with high operating expenses, Granite Air Center was looking for permanent solutions to lower their overhead. Greg Soho, who serves as Co-Owner and CFO, explains how the solar alternative became a reality.
“This all came about after Norwich Solar Technologies based across the river in Norwich, VT approached us and presented us with proposals to lower our electrical bills at the three facilities we operate here at the airport. The original proposal would have us cover half of our roof in the main building with solar panels. Further research indicated we should place panels over the entire roof that covers that structure.”
Once that plan was agreed upon to install solar panels over the entire roof, the return on investment was brought to the forefront. In addition, the style of solar panels installed gave no hint of what they represented and they blended perfectly with the roof’s original design. However, it was the financial savings that sealed the deal.
Not just your ordinary hangar roof... These are solar panels and they are saving money and the planet.
“Once those solar panels were installed it was estimated that we would generate about 103 per cent of our electrical needs! We had to modify that figure due to Fire Codes and the allowable number of panels on that roof. The final estimate with the reduced amount of panels should mean we generate about 98 per cent of our electricity. That equates to around a savings on our electric bill of between $4200-4800 per month!”
There are also more financial benefits from the solar system Granite Air has established. The more the sun shines brightly the savings grow even larger.
“When you build up more electrical energy than you actually use with this system, you are eligible for Solar Reversible Energy Credits (SREC) that you would be able to sell and that figure could reach between $4000 and $6000. In addition you can earn New Hampshire Solar Incentives along with Federal Solar Tax Credits.”
Jason Archambeault serves as CCO for Granite Air and he played a leading role in the research and development of the solar system.
“You might say I did all the leg work involved in getting this off the ground here at Granite Air,” Jason said with a wide smile. “I researched all the information and reviewed concepts and now I monitor the system on a daily basis. The first part of the system came on line April 24 of this year and the second phase on May 3rd. We haven’t got a fuel bill yet and I noted the system so far is doing everything we expected.”
The success of the Granite Air solar program has drawn the attention of Lebanon Municipal Airport Manager Rick Dyment.
“Currently we are launching a study and reviewing plans that would make it possible for the installation of solar energy here at the airport and property adjacent to our runways and beyond. We are researching all benefits from such a program that would generate Lebanon taxpayers real savings and offer green energy solutions.”