Woodchuck harvests solar power
STAFF REPORT | April 22,2013
MIDDLEBURY — Vermont Hard Cider Company, maker of Woodchuck Hard Cider, is also growing its renewable energy use through a solar orchard in nearby Bridport.
The solar project will produce approximately 210,000 kilowatts of electricity a year for the Woodchuck cidery. The project will cover approximately 10 percent to 15 percent of the company’s current electric demand.
“Sustainability efforts like this are at the core of our mission,” said Vermont Hard Cider President and CEO Bret Williams. “To be able to tap into local renewable energy is good for our business, the local economy, and the planet.”
The 1.5-acre solar orchard consists of 26 pole-mounted, dual-axis AllSun Trackers, which use GPS and wireless technology to follow the sun throughout the day. The solar trackers are manufactured locally by AllEarth Renewables of Williston. According to AllEarth Renewables, the tracker system boosts the panel’s energy production by up to 45 percent over rooftop installations.
“We’re excited to be working with Vermont Hard Cider Company on this project, a company that understands they can make both a financially sound decision and a sustainable decision as they produce their great product,” said David Blittersdorf, CEO of AllEarth Renewables.
Woodchuck also purchases 25 percent of its power through Green Mountain Power’s “Cow Power” program, which converts cow manure to electricity. Combined with the new solar project, around 40 percent of Woodchuck’s power use is now renewable.