Vermont Technical College to install 500-kW solar farm

Vermont Technical College will further its use of renewable energy and help reduce its operating costs while providing the institution new educational opportunities with the installation of a 500-kW solar farm.

This month, the 500-kW project was awarded its Certificate of Public Good by the Vermont Public Service Board, green-lighting the project to begin construction immediately. It is scheduled to be complete by February.

AllEarth-Solar-Tracker-March-2015The project on Vermont Tech’s campus will consist of 100 5-kW AllEarth Series 20 dual-axis solar trackers, manufactured by AllEarth Renewables, Inc. of Williston.

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Consistent with its technical career-oriented mission, Vermont Technical College is increasing renewable energy programs and facilities. The college offers an innovative bachelor’s degree in Renewable Energy, and a Continuing Education division that delivers a slate of courses and workshops focused on the renewable energy industry. Joining the college’s 375 kw anaerobic digester, dubbed “Big Bertha” by students, the solar project will provide students with real-world experience and an additional educational tool right on their campus.

In addition to the locally manufactured product by AllEarth Renewables, students will gain first-hand exposure to the company’s Vermont supply chain for components.

Vermont Tech is the only solar training provider in Vermont acknowledged by Interstate Renewable Energy Council, which provides nationally-recognized training and credential programs. Clean energy will be a big part of Vermont communities going forward, and Vermont Tech’s Randolph campus is poised to be a model for local renewable energy education and training.

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“I am enthusiastic about this project and the future of this college as a hub for teaching and learning the vital skills connected to clean energy in Vermont,” said Vermont Tech President Dan Smith. “Degree programs in agriculture, horticulture, environmental engineering, and energy position Vermont Tech graduates to play a vital role in Vermont’s environmental and energy future.”

Vermont Technical College will receive the net metered energy credits, thereby saving on electric costs. The solar array will also benefit the Green Mountain Power distribution system by acting as a load reducer during peak periods in the summer months when market electricity costs are highest to the utility.

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