HB Energy Solutions & GMP Partner with Mt. Ascutney Hospital & Health Centers, as well as options for members of the Community.
When Tom Hernon founded HB Energy Solutions, over 20 years ago, the heating and plumbing business was not what it is today. Modernizing often meant replacing an old coal-burning furnace with one fueled with oil.
Times have changed, however. New generations of both technologies and of skilled workers have entered the energy business. With the changes, HB Energy has created a new business branch, and Tom Hernon’s son, Brian, has taken the position of head of the Alternative Energy Division. And that branch goes beyond selling fuel to actually helping customers generate their own electrical power renewably.
Perhaps the best example of the change is that HB Energy Solutions has built a solar farm at their headquarters in Springfield, Vermont. It is built in three sections. The first is on the roof of a warehouse used to store wood pellets. A second location is in a field that had previously held an oil tank. The third set of panels is in what had once been a parking lot. These arrays combine to well over 150 kW of solar capacity, and are now operational.
In a time when the components of solar systems are mostly made in China, the HB Energy Solutions solar farm has solar panels from Helios, in Wisconsin, and an inverter from Solectria, in Massachusetts. Tom Hernon says he was impressed by the quality of the products he used, and was happy to see them coming from American producers.
Greg Heaton, of Green Mountain Power, worked with HB Energy to take care of the grid-tie connections. GreenMountain will meter the electricity produced and put it on the grid. Excess power is tracked through a credit system, and can be sold. Most recently, Mt. AscutneyHospital has agreed to buy power from the HB solar system. The agreement benefits all parties, HB Energy Solutions, Green Mountain Power, and Mt.AscutneyHospital.
The contract guarantees a supply of electrical power for the hospital at a low cost, fixed for the its ten-year term. This is particularly important, because hospital energy use is very high, a result of heavy reliance on technology and requirements for indoor environmental comfort for patients. Also, the solar power Mt.AscutneyHospital is buying will help it achieve its sustainability goals.
Asked about the future, Brian Hernon said, “I can’t predict what oil will cost ten years from now. However, I do know what energy from the sun will cost. It will still be free.”
HB Energy Solutions is at 132 Bridge Street in Springfield, VT. Info: www.hbenergy.com.