Community solar saving Vermont dairy farms

vermont dairy

Two off-site community solar projects in Vermont were recently completed, built and developed by Norwich Solar, and financed by Solaris Energy and Greenday Finance. These two Vermont community solar projects will provide over 2 MWh of renewable energy annually, at a lower cost, for 6 locally run dairy farms.

“We are very fortunate to work with engaged property owners to site these solar projects on underused land, enabling additional value to be unlocked for them.” said Kevin Davis, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Norwich Solar, a Certified B Corp.

Vermont community solar

The Vermont dairy industry itself generates over $2.2 billion annually, but increasingly thin margins are leading local farmers to seek out new ways to compete without losing use of any of their land. Community solar projects are a great solution.

These community solar projects consist of two 500 kW (864 kWdc) ground-mount solar arrays on less productive land in Newbury and Jamaica, Vermont. The solar projects are designed to help reduce fixed energy costs so the farms can increase profit margins.

The Jamaica site (a former gravel pit) furthers the focus on a community coming together. It lies adjacent to a neighborhood of trailer homes and response from residents has been overwhelmingly positive. Several people have come out to the site to ask questions and express general excitement for the project. The Newbury site is a previously logged hillside.

Solaris Vermont Dairy farm project

“The Jamaica project, in particular, was a former gravel extraction site that posed some design and installation challenges, but the final project is quite compelling to see,” Davis said.

Fellow B Corp, Solaris Energy, provided late-stage development and capital through the final completion of the projects. Investor partner, Greenday Finance took over long-term ownership and will continue to work with Solaris Energy and Norwich Solar for asset management, operations and maintenance services on both sites.

“It’s a beautiful thing to see locals come together to care for a community resource – especially one that helps their fellow neighbors and local economy. It really hits the mark on what community scale solar is all about.” Noted Nick Francis, Solaris Energy’s Director of Project Development.

These two projects in rural America encapsulate what community scale solar is truly about. A group of value-aligned solar partners came together to provide a local economic resource that is well-supported by the neighborhood, and developed projects that support regional renewable energy goals.

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