Construction begins on largest utility-owned solar project in New Hampshire


Unitil Corporation, a public utility holding company with operations in three New England states, began site work on a 4.9 MW solar project in Kingston, N.H. When complete in 2025, it will be the largest utility-owned solar in New Hampshire. The first utility-owned solar plant is a 2.59 MW in Moultonborough, owned by New Hampshire Electric Cooperative.

The Kingston solar project will include 11,232 Qcells solar modules mounted on Terrasmart single-axis trackers with an east-west rotation. The installation will include approximately 40 Chint Power Systems’ string inverters, and the electricity generated by the solar plant will be delivered directly into Unitil’s electric distribution system.

The plant is expected to generate approximately 9.7 million kilowatt hours of energy in its first year of service and is expected to average 8.6 million kilowatt hours annually over its projected 40-year lifespan.

Unitil chose New Hampshire-based ReVision Energy based in Brentwood, N.H. as its engineering, procurement and construction contractor for the solar array.

“The new array reflects Unitil’s long-term goals of addressing the region’s climate objectives in a way that’s cost-effective, sustainable, and provides direct benefits to all customers,” said Alex  O’Meara, external affairs director at Unitil. “We look forward to partnering on this project with ReVision Energy, which brings with it 20 years of award-winning experience in the solar industry here in New England.”

The Kingston project was approved by the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission in May 2023 and has since received all required local, state and federal permits. Under New Hampshire law, utilities can invest in renewable generation of up to 6% of their total distribution peak load, which provides Unitil the opportunity to develop as much as 18 MW of renewables.

“With this array, Unitil will provide substantial savings for ratepayers, generate employment opportunities within the community, and significantly curb carbon emissions,” said Dan Weeks, vice president of business development at ReVision Energy. “

While energy storage initially will not be part of the Kingston site, it has been designed for solar. A spokesperson told pv magazine USA that Unitil continues to evaluate the cost and benefits of storage to ensure the addition of storage provides net benefits to customers.

This article was amended on Feb. 27, 2024 to state that the Kingston plant is the largest utility owned, but not the first.

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