by Taylor Reed

BARNET — Here comes the sun, power.

Waterbury-based SunCommon has submitted plans to the Vermont Public Service Board for a one-acre solar array off Route 5 in Barnet. Permitting is expected to proceed through January.

If approved, it will mark the town’s first commercial array.

SunCommon spokeswoman Emily McManamy said the 150 KW “community solar array,” or CSA, can fuel about 30 Green Mountain Power customers. CSA installments are an alternative to homeowner systems, which are costly and oftentimes inappropriate.

“Last year we discovered many Vermonters are unable to go solar at their own homes for a variety of reasons,” McManamy said. “Many Vermonters are renters, live in homes shaded by trees, have rooflines with poor solar orientation, or simply aren’t interested in hosting their own arrays. Nationally, only 15 percent of households can host rooftop solar, so our CSA program seeks to address that issue right here in Vermont.”

The program launched last year and serves more than 500 Vermont households. Landowners hosting arrays are compensated.

The Barnet array is proposed for the Tolle property off Route 5, south of Barnet Village. It will include about 700 solar panels, said landowner Sherry Tolle.

“It won’t be visible on Route 5,” she said. “It’s possibly going to be visible for a brief moment on I-91.”

Tolle got the idea after a summertime solar forum.SunCommon ultimately developed a workable design for her property.

Tolle is attracted to not only the sustainability of solar energy but to the accessibility of community solar arrays.

“We thought it was a nice idea to provide solar to the community at large,” Tolle said. “We’ve always felt that solar and wind power is a good idea. It’s always there. It’s sustainable. It takes us out of the nuclear and coal situation.”

Tolle herself is a SunCommon CSA member. She joined last month.


To read related coverage by the Caledonian Record:

Community-minded, a solar option for all

Second solar array proposed for Barnet

A new farm crop: Community Solar



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