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Solar News for the Solar Capital — Rutland, VT

2014 brings Rutland closer to their designated goal to become the Solar Capital of the Northeast. A rooftop solar farm and a new Solar Center total nearly 240kW of additional solar commissioned in January!

By N.R. Mallery

Rutland's newest solar farm -- at the College of Saint Joseph. The 98.28kW project is a fully ballasted roof mount solar photovoltaic system, atop the college gymnasium.

Rutland’s newest solar farm — at the College of Saint Joseph. The 98.28kW project is a fully ballasted roof mount solar photovoltaic system, atop the college gymnasium.

On Tuesday, January 21st, 2014, Green Mountain Power commissioned Rutland’s newest solar farm, which is located at the College of Saint Joseph. The 98.28kW project at the CSJ is a fully ballasted roof mount solar photovoltaic system that is atop the college gymnasium. INSERT CSJ Pic

Positive Energy won the competitive GMP bid to design and install the system. It is likely one of the largest rooftop systems in the Rutland area, if not beyond. The project employs US-assembled SolarWorld modules, and a single Solectria inverter that is mounted at the ground level. The installation of the array was completed in under a week, and total construction of the project was wrapped up in just over 2 weeks. Khanti Monroe, VP of Solar Operations for Positive Energy commented, “Working with CSJ and GMP was a real pleasure, and a model example for how to replicate these types of projects going forward.” The project also includes an interactive digital display that allows visitors to see the output and environmental benefits of the project in real time.

This project is an interesting partnership with the CSJ and Green Mountain Power. Green Mountain Power will own the project and lease the rooftop from the college. Positive Energy, who installed the rooftop solar farm, is from Middle Granville, NY. They have been involved with some of the other large solar farm installations that are also connected to the Solar Capital project.

Adding to efforts to make Rutland the solar capital of New England, the Solar Center at Rutland Regional Medical Center went on-line on January 14, 2014. The ceremony was held in the pouring rain. Philip Allen of SameSun Solar, who built the Solar Center, pointed out that “Steve Costello made an excellent point at the ceremony when he was able to show that the array was producing nicely even in this terrible weather!”

Steve Costello of GMP and Tom Huebner of Rutland Regional Medical Center on Jan. 14, 2014, in the rain.

Steve Costello of GMP and Tom Huebner of Rutland Regional Medical Center on Jan. 14, 2014, in the rain.

The 140.4kW solar farm was built through collaboration between Green Mountain Power and Rutland Regional Medical Center. It showcases a touch-screen production monitor, a walking path and educational materials for visitors. Visitors to Green Mountain Power’s downtown Energy Innovation Center can also track the production of the new solar farm on a digital display, which shows how much energy is produced, the amount of coal required to produce the same amount of energy, and related data.

“The Solar Center at Rutland Regional is already making an impact, demonstrating to our employees, patients and visitors that we are committed to environmental sustainability and economic development in the region,” President Thomas Huebner said at the ceremony marking the project’s completion. “We are proud to be contributing to Rutland’s revitalization, and hope this first project at the medical center is a precursor to other projects.”

“Rutland Regional proved to be a perfect partner on this project,” said Mary Powell, president and CEO of GMP. “Medical center staff were highly engaged and easy to work with. The project will help meet local peak loads, produce energy close to where it is consumed, reduce our carbon footprint, and help build the local economy. Projects like this are supporting new local jobs and business development in the Rutland area.”

The 140.4kW Solar Center at Rutland Regional Medical Center in November, as construction was wrapping up.

The 140.4kW Solar Center at Rutland Regional Medical Center in November, as construction was wrapping up.

“It’s a meaningful project, fitting in beautifully with the landscape and surrounding buildings,” said Philip Allen, who owns Same Sun with his wife Marlene. She added, “It’s exciting to be a part of the new solar economy in Rutland.”

GMP, which will own and maintain the solar farm under a 25-year lease agreement with Rutland Regional, will credit the hospital for 10% of the project’s output. The remaining energy will be delivered to other local GMP customers.

These projects are part of GMP’s ongoing work to make Rutland the solar capital of New England, the city with the highest solar capacity per capita of any city in New England. The effort supports Vermont’s goals to substantially expand renewable generation, and GMP’s commitment to support new economic development in Rutland.

Learn more about the Solar Capital Project at www.greenmountainpower.com.

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