263 Years Later
In the 21st century, we’ve overcome most of the daily struggles that made life difficult for the Rice family so long ago, but it still makes good sense to use our resources carefully. The sun that warmed the house in Moses Rice’s day provides electric power to Zoar Outdoor today.
In the fall of 2006, we hired Pioneer Valley Photovoltaics to install solar panels on the roofs of our three south-facing buildings along Route 2 for a total generating capacity of 15 kilowatts. In 2009 we added another 10 kilowatts to our capacity. Our 25 kilowatts of total production capacity provides about 90 percent of the electricity needs of Hawk Mountain Lodge and 40 to 50 percent of the electricity needs of our main base, where we have a commercial kitchen with several refrigerators, a network of 10 computers and our offices and retail store.
The system we installed was made possible by a grant from the Mass Technology Collaborative which is funded by the renewable energy surcharge all Mass residents pay on their electric bills. The grant paid about a third of the total cost of the project, with a bank loan financing the rest. We’re expecting a payback period of 10 to 12 years.
In 2011 we added another 11 kilowatts of photovoltaics to the roof of our zip line canopy tour base, bringing our total production up to 25 kw and offsetting about 80% of our total electricity usage.
One of our core values is that