Vt. turning to solar power for state buildings
By WILSON RING
The Associated Press | September 12,2013
Jeb Wallace-Brodeur Staff Photo
Along with AllEarth Renewables Chief Operating Officer Doug Goldsmith, left, Gov. Peter Shumlin announces a major solar initiative Wednesday in Montpelier. Under the plan, solar power will be provided to 10 state facilities.
MONTPELIER — Vermont is going to use solar power to run 10 state office buildings, including all seven of its prisons, officials said Wednesday.
The deal between the state and the company AllEarth Renewables calls for solar installations that will serve the prisons as well as the Pavilion Office Building in Montpelier, where the governor’s office is located, and state offices in Brattleboro and Bennington. In some cases, the installations will provide all the electricity for the buildings.
Gov. Peter Shumlin said the project furthered his long-term goal of getting 90 percent of the state’s energy needs from renewable power sources by 2050.
“There is no cost to taxpayers for this investment. It will save taxpayers about a million dollars, which is not only smart in terms of managing taxpayer resources but smart energy policy,” Shumlin said.
Wednesday’s announcement is the culmination of a process begun in 2011, when the state asked for energy projects for state facilities at a competitive or neutral cost. AllEarth Renewables, of Williston, emerged as the winner of the three-company competitive bidding process.
Once completed, the project is expected to produce nearly 5 million kilowatt-hours of solar power per year, enough to power about 750 Vermont homes for a year.
AllEarth Renewables Chief Operating Officer Doug Goldsmith said his company would seek the needed state permits over the winter and hopes to begin installation of the arrays next spring.
Goldsmith said the project would involve many other Vermont businesses and contribute state jobs.
“We do what we can to be able to source as much of our subcontracting materials from Vermont, helping put Vermonters to work,” Goldsmith said.
The installations will not go on the roofs of the buildings. Where possible, the units will be installed near the facilities, but in some cases, including the Pavilion office building in Montpelier, they will have to be located elsewhere.