Bow voters approve school district solar project

SRUTHI GOPALAKRISHNAN—

By SRUTHI GOPALAKRISHNAN

Monitor staff

Published: 03-16-2024 6:28 PM

Bow residents brought the town one step closer to installing the state’s largest combined municipal solar development.

As part of the solar project, the energy committee, along with Kearsarge Solar LLC, a Massachusetts-based energy company, has selected town-owned parcels and the rooftops of Bow Memorial and Elementary schools as ideal places for the installation of solar panels.

The panels on the town parcel will have the largest energy capacity. Despite the schools’ relatively small role in the project, Bryce Larrabee, the chair of the school board, emphasized the benefits.

“There’s really very little risk for the school – no cost for us at all. It really benefits us at the end of the day,” said Larrabee at the school district meeting Friday night.

However, the warrant article for the solar project did not pass without an amendment.

Harry Judd proposed an amendment to remove the solar company’s name, Kearsarge Solar LLC, from the warrant to offer the school more flexibility.

“Should negotiations fail with this company, the school would have to have another warrant at a future meeting to be able to move forward and negotiate with another company,” explained Judd.

Unlike the turnout at the town meeting, attendance at the school district meeting was relatively sparse, with just over 100 residents passing all school district warrant articles at the Bow High School auditorium. 

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The town approved the $35.7 million school budget, an increase from the previous year’s $3.7 million. A large portion of the increases comes from the interest on Bow Elementary’s school bond, which was approved last year.

This raises the school district’s portion of the tax rate by $1.02, which is about $306 on a $300,000 home.