COLCHESTER, USA: Green Mountain Power has flipped the switch on three new solar projects, bringing its total solar installations to five and exceeding its goal of installing and helping its customers install 10,000 solar panels in 1,000 days.
These newest projects include the solar orchard at Shelburne Farms, the roof of the GMP Montpelier Service Center, and a project that is currently the state's largest, next to one of GMP's fossil fuel generating plants in Berlin. All three were designed and installed by Alteris Renewables, Inc., of Montpelier.
"We are proud to have topped our 10,000 solar panel goal," President and CEO Mary Powell said. "We are now at 14,000 panels and aiming high. Our customers clearly want more solar and we are determined to help provide it."
The new solar installations by Green Mountain Power and its efforts to help its customers to do the same is a component of the company's overall plan to reduce the state's carbon footprint though the deployment of more renewable generation. The number of GMP customers who have installed solar has more than quadrupled since the beginning of 2009.
GMP-owned projects include:
* A 150 kw system at Shelburne Farms (530 solar panels).
* A 138 kw system at the GMP Montpelier Service Center's rooftop (616 panels).
* The 200 kw solar array installation at the company's Berlin facility, currently the largest in the state (952 panels).
* A 58-kilowatt system at its Westminster Service Center (308 panels).
* A 4-kilowatt solar array for its Colchester headquarters, which powers its two plug-in hybrid vehicles (20 panels).
The solar panels for the Berlin site are located on the same parcel of land as Green Mountain Power's 50 megawatt conventional fossil fuel fired facility, which operates only during peak hours, just a few hundred hours per year.
"We especially appreciate seeing the solar panels generating electricity in the same space as our fossil fuel plant, because adding renewable generating during peak periods, as solar does, decreases the likelihood that our costly, high emission fossil fuel plant will be called on to start generating emergency power," said Powell.
Shelburne Farms' President Alec Webb views the completed project onsite as a way of supporting local energy systems and demonstrating natural resource stewardship. "We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with Green Mountain Power's SolarGMP program on reducing our carbon footprint and enhancing the Farm's educational resources."
"Customer owned solar is a cost effective way of helping to meet electric energy needs when power use is high on hot sunny days," said Ms. Powell. "The amount of electricity generated from solar is that much less power that has to be purchased from the New England regional energy market during peak times, which comes from more expensive and more carbon-emitting sources."