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What a Solar Week it has been, here in Vermont! IVEK SOLAR, to start!

What a Solar Week it has been, here in VT!

On Tuesday – we attended the opening event for IVEK Corporation in Springfield, VT.  This is officially the largest, privately owned “net-metered” system in VT, at 209 kW! It is expected to meet from 90-100% of their electrical needs!!

The sun came out, after the cloudy, gray months of November and December this year,  as well as after some new snow overnight that lasted into the morning. As I drove down to Springfield, Vermont, to attend this celebration, it was amazing – to see the sky open and reveal blue skies and that long lost sun – just in time to show all attending how the IVEK solar works!

Snowy solar panels starting to melt as the sun came out

The ceremony was well-attended by the keynote speaker and installer, Paul Biebel, as well as his son, Tim – owners of Prudent Living of Windsor, VT.  Mr Biebel explained that  the project worked so smoothly because of the ‘team effort’.

Paul Biebel, ower of Prudent Living - Windsor, VT

He said: “I’d like to also thank Mr. Tanny, CEO of IVEK and Mr. Blake, Operations Manager  for entrusting this project to us.  It took some faith on their part.  The journey through the jungle of paperwork and finances was more unpredictable  than any of us thought it would be.   I am grateful to  the whole Prudent Living and Biebel Builders  and Brite-Lite Electrical Crew for their precision effort as well as Jerry and Don from ResTec,  our good friends and partners.  Many thanks , as well, to Doug Gurney for staying just ahead of us and also for Jim Williams for his beautiful fence work.  Last, but not least, I’d like to thank Greg Heaton from CVPS, who was always available to answer questions.  Without this team, it could not have been completed in just nine weeks from start to finish.

I’d like to also thank Mark for giving me this opportunity to express  my passion for  Renewable Energy.  Those of you who know me as a General Contractor who does Renewable Energy have heard me say this before.

“ I believe that the movement to synchronize Renewable Energy with Sustainable Design will prove to be as important to the 21st century as indoor plumbing, electricity and the telephone was in the last.  Who knows?  Perhaps our children will look back and smile at our primitive dependency on fossil fuels in the same way we smile as we recall our own evolution from hand-cranks and party lines to  I-phones  and Internet.”  

Renewable Energy is here to stay.  The debate over its viability is over.  In fact;  it’s pointless.   Fossil fuel consumes and pollutes while Renewable Energy is clean.   One pays for itself three times over.  The other costs three times as much.   You own one.   One owns you.

As surely as the sun shines on everyone, so is the potential for everyone to benefit from Renewable Energy.   This is where the relationship between individuals and businesses  and Vermont’s Renewable Energy Program needs a strong heartbeat; not  the weak pulse that has palpitated unpredictably from one year to the next or  was only available to the sleekest or first in line.  Communities will only unite around this important cause when it benefits everyone equally and without ration or preference.

We need to change the way we think about  Renewable Energy.   We need to do it now … not 10 years from now.  Neighbors should encourage it rather than resist it.  Passersby should nod in agreement rather than protest.  We’ll know we are making progress  when the sight of windmills on ridges, hydroelectric generators in the waterways, pole mounts, roof and field arrays are all thought of as positive and natural in their settings as the fields and trees around them.

Let me finish by saying that I am proud of my home State and their commitment to Renewable Energy.  I believe that we can lead the way in promoting Sustainable Lifestyles as we strive to make Renewable Energy equally available to all.”

One of the most remarkable findings about this whole project is that the owner of IVEK went forward with the solar project, despite learning this summer that they were apparently excluded from the state’s alternative energy tax credit program. Tanny said that they had not been notified of a new registration requirement and therefore missed a 9-day window that was included in legislation passed into law months after the company’s Certificate of Public Good for the project had been filed.

He added that several legislators and members of the Clean Energy Development Fund Board had been very receptive to the situation and hoped that some action could be taken to remedy the situation and restore the credits, which would mirror the Federal tax credits for solar projects.  Those credits required a project to be completed and functioning by the end of 2010.

Although CEDF’s dedicated attempt to resolve this issue that led to them NOT receiving any state incentives $,  Mr. Tanny  barely hesitated to say: ”Let’s Build It!”  He went on to explain: “We love our country. There was no debate.  We CAN become Energy Independent! When has America NOT been able to accomplish anything? Sustainable Technology has changed everything. The debate of viability is over.  Fossil Fuels pollute unlike renewable energy. You own it, not it owns you! Everyone should have a way to take advantage of renewable energy! Renewable Energy in VT neews a healthy pulse.  It should be equal and available to everyone” …

The solar generation project not only benefits the environment, but will also make the company more competitive in the global market and create jobs in the future. The estimate reduction in greenhouse gas emissions resulting from this new project over 25 years is approximately 4100 tons of CO2.   Mark Tanny has truly left his ‘MARK’!

Be sure to drive out to see this exemplary undertaking – just off of Rte 106, on Fairbanks Road, in North Springfield, VT.  And let this just be a ‘small’ beginning toward our energy independence!  Where there is a will, there IS a way!

Prudent Living, the installer, is operated through Biebel Builders, Biebel Builder’s Incorporated
3189 US RT5 South Windsor, Vt  05089. Member: US Green Building Council ( USGBC); LEED GA – Timothy Biebel; Partner: Energy Star Builder; Certifications: Building Analyst – ( Building Performance Institute ) – 7 Certified Employees; Envelope & Shell – ( Building Performance Institute ) – 2 Certified Employees Sustainable & Renewable Design Strategies – ( Solar Energy International ); SOLAR PV – James, Shawn, Tim, Don & Jerry; NABCEP – Certified Solar PV installer – Tim Biebel; Geothermal Installer – Paul, Tim, Don (802) 674-9155.  www.biebelbuilders.com

Article written by Nancy Rae Mallery, publisher of Green Energy Times

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