Towns Going Solar

Jun 21, 2013

A growing number of Vermont towns are taking a look at powering municipal buildings via solar arrays.

This month the town of Thetford sent out a Request For Information to companies that could help the town construct a "community/municipal solar farm."

In Worcester, the select board met with a solar development company earlier this month:

Alex and Lou Bravakis from Novus Energy Development presented a proposal to develop a small scale solar project that would potentially allow the town offices and buildings to purchase electricity at a discounted rate. The board agreed it sounded like a good idea and to pursue the matter further: The next step is to identify a viable location. This project is in the planning stages and voter approval will be needed t o complete the project.

The Cambridge Select Board recently discussed solar options with David Hallquist, head of the Vermont Electric Co-op. One option that town is considering is installing a solar project on 20 acres of the Town's 32-acre gravel pit.

Sharon claims to be one of the most solar dependent communities in the world, per capita. And now the town is planning to install solar power for its schools. The Sharon Solar Partnership is taking the lead on that project, according to recent select board minutes:

Sharon Solar Partnership: Paul Haskell presented an update from the Sharon Solar partnership and requested authorization for the partnership to proceed to the next phase which will be financing, design and permitting.

Brad Atwood made a MOTION to authorize the Sharon Solar Partnership to proceed to the next phase - financing, design and permitting, seconded by Mary Gavin; MOTION carried.

Marshfield installed an array in January, and as of the end of May the town had received $ 1,617 for the energy produced. Through a link on the town website, residents there can check up on the numbers to see how much energy the project is producing.

As the cost of solar energy  equipment comes down, Vermont could become home to an increasing number of municipal solar arrays.