Colchester, Vt., July 19, 2010 — Green Mountain Power and Shelburne Farms are working together to build solar generation at Shelburne Farms. Under the terms of a 25-year cooperative agreement, Green Mountain Power will install a 770 solar panel array at Shelburne Farms.
The panels will occupy three quarters of an acre in a field that Shelburne Farms has recently designated as a “Solar Orchard.”
Mary Powell, Green Mountain Power President and CEO, said, “This project is an important part of our overall energy and climate strategy to increase the amount of renewable energy generation in our state. It brings us very close to our goal to have 10,000 solar panels installed in our service territory within 1,000 days — a commitment we made in November 2008.”
The project location was carefully chosen by Shelburne Farms and Green Mountain Power to maintain the historic and scenic integrity of Shelburne Farms, which has been named a National Historic Landmark.
Alec Webb, President of Shelburne Farms, said, “This partnership with Green Mountain Power fits our mission to cultivate a conservation ethic in the students, educators and families who come here to learn. Production of clean renewable energy in the Solar Orchard is an opportunity to demonstrate stewardship of natural and agricultural resources.”
Webb said the partnership with Green Mountain Power is a step toward creating the infrastructure that will help Shelburne Farms achieve its goal to produce all its own electricity on site, allowing the Farm to participate in net metering for its various facilities.
Net metering allows electric utility customers to generate electricity for personal use using renewable resources. They pay their utility regular monthly service charges, but are billed for electricity only when they consume more power than they generate.
Shelburne Farms, as well as all Green Mountain Power customers, have an added incentive to produce their own solar electricity. Green Mountain Power is the only Vermont utility in the state that pays its customers for the solar power they produce under its SolarGMP program, which is available to net metered customers with systems under 250 kW.
As a result, Green Mountain Power has seen a threefold increase in the number of customers installing solar generators in the past 18 months.
“Customer-owned solar is a cost effective way of helping to meet electric energy needs when power use is high on hot sunny days,” Powell said. “The amount of electricity generated from solar is that much less power that has to be purchased from the New England market, which is dirtier and higher in carbon.”
The Shelburne Farms solar orchard is expected to be up and producing clean renewable energy in September.
Green Mountain Power transmits, distributes and sells electricity and utility construction services in the State of Vermont in a service territory with about one quarter of Vermont‘s population. It serves more than 200,000 people and businesses.
Shelburne Farms is a 1,400-acre working farm, nonprofit environmental education center and National Historic Landmark, whose mission is the cultivation of a conservation ethic through teaching and demonstrating the stewardship of natural and agricultural resources.