Christmas tree farm in Bethlehem, NH goes solar


Bethlehem, New Hampshire, a small town with a population of 2,500, was named on Christmas day in 1799. Fittingly, the town is known for a Christmas tree farm at The Rocks, a historic property, now owned by the non-profit Society for the Protection of NH Forests (Forest Society).

The Rocks was a working farm in the 19th century and features exceptional period architecture including an Olmsted-designed garden and a network of woodland trails. The owners’ descendants donated 1,400 acre property to the Forest Society in 1978, which has continued as a Christmas tree farm and educational center, as well as being maintained as a working forest. In 2019, the main building burned to the ground, and since that time The Forest Society has undertaken a major renovation, which includes a new solar array that will bring The Rocks’ facilities close to net zero energy use.

In 2020, The Forest Society engaged ReVision Energy, a large New England solar installer, to install a ground-mount solar array of 180 QCells 480 Watt solar modules. The modules are mounted on an APA racking system, installed in the rocky ground with ground screws. A PowerDash DAS provides monitoring and management. And there are nine single-phase SMA SB 7.0 kW inverters.

The 86.4 kW array, which will be powered up just after the new year, will produce over 100,000 kWh of clean solar energy annually, offsetting 156,000 pounds of carbon, or the equivalent to removing 15 passenger cars from the road.

In addition to the solar array, The Forest Society is having the 1884 Carriage Barn renovated while retaining its historic stone and shingle exterior. The solar array will power new heat pumps, and a geothermal system will be added for heating and cooling. To ensure that the building is as energy efficient as possible, an insulated building envelope will be created on the interior. With the renovation, The Rocks is becoming The Forest Society North, where professional conservation staff who serve the North Country will be based.

This content is protected by copyright and may not be reused. If you want to cooperate with us and would like to reuse some of our content, please contact:

Popular content

How long do residential solar panels last?
23 July 2024 Multiple factors affect the productive lifespan of a residential solar panel. In the first part of this series, we look at the solar panels themselves...