“I’m here today with local community officials, representatives of great solar companies like Northern Reliability and SunCommon, and others committed to growing our economy, creating jobs and protecting the environment through renewable energy projects,” the Governor said. “We have more than quadrupled the amount of solar energy in Vermont since I became Governor, and I am very pleased to be able to announce Clean Energy Development Fund solar grants to keep our momentum going.”
As part of his Summer Solar Tour, Governor Peter Shumlin today visited Northern Reliability in Waitsfield, one of the many solar businesses that has helped Vermont earn the Number 1 national ranking for solar jobs per capita, to announce $442,750 in Clean Energy Development Fund grants for nine community solar projects. Overall these grants will support the installation of more than 500 kilowatts of solar for schools, towns, and communities in Vermont. This includes $80,000 for the Town of Waitsfield to install a 102 kilowatt solar project on the town garage to power Waitsfield’s municipal buildings.
“These solar projects are unique in that they all feature community-ownership or local investment, and they offer a model for how communities can come together to foster solar energy development that reduces public sector energy costs,” said Darren Springer, Deputy Commissioner of the Public Service Department.
“In Waitsfield, the 102 kilowatt, 330-panel solar array has been sized to provide enough locally-sourced renewable energy to support the Waitsfield Elementary School and what is believed to be soon, Vermont’s 2nd “Net-Zero” Town Office building,” said Valerie Capels, Waitsfield Town Administrator. “Additional generation from the solar array will also help offset electric expenses of the municipal buildings including the fire station, town garage and the library.”
In addition to announcing the grants, the Governor toured facilities at Northern Reliability and noted that the company is designing solar power systems for off-grid and remote locations across North America. They have been selected by the VTA in Vermont to make solar power systems with battery backup for telecommunications infrastructure, to ensure resilient and continuous cellular service in the event of power outages.
The Solar Summer Tour stop also featured participation from SunCommon, a Vermont business that is creating solar jobs and helping homeowners overcome the hurdles to installing solar. SunCommon recently announced that they are expanding their program to customers in Orange and Windsor Counties, and they are now packaging solar with cold-climate heat pumps to help Vermonters save on electric and fuel bills.
The Clean Energy Development Fund was created to increase cost-effective and environmentally sustainable electric power resources – primarily with respect to renewable energy resources, and the use of combined heat and power technologies.
The projects securing Clean Energy Development Fund project grants were:
· Richford – Franklin Supervisory Union, roof of high school, 50 kilowatts, $45,500 CEDF grant
· South Strafford – Town of Strafford and Newton School, field at 264 VT RT. 132, 65 kilowatts, $32,250 CEDF grant
· Thetford – Thetford School Board, elementary school land, 141 kilowatts, $125,000 CEDF grant
· Warren – Town of Warren, town land near elementary school, 162 kilowatts, $80,000 CEDF grant
· Sharon – Town of Sharon, roof top project net metered to school, 12 kilowatts, $15,000 CEDF grant
· North Thetford – United Church of Thetford, 15 kilowatts, $13,750 CEDF grant
· Berlin – Town of Berlin, town offices roof top, 16.8 kilowatts, $20,000 CEDF grant
· Shrewsbury – Shrewsbury Mountain School, 25 kilowatts, $31,250 CEDF grant