producing & overproducing solar power in the northeast!
After seeing how well solar works at Cedar Ledge Builders, in South Hero, VT, Tim Parizo, seriously looked at the actual economics of solar for his own company. Today a 50kW system for Island Excavating Corporation in Grand Isle, the largest excavating business in the Champlain islands, secures their energy costs for running their office and shop at a much lower rate than they were previously paying to the utility company. The system was installed on their available roof space.
One of the keys to making this project work well was the tax credits and depreciation benefits available for businesses who install solar systems. This allows these business systems to offer an excellent economic return. Island Excavating’s system is producing more power than their business can use and the Parizos plan to use the excess to offset their home electric bill! Dolly Parizo, who works with her husband Tim, exclaimed “We love it. Why? No power bills. It’s great. Normally we had $700-900 per month electric bills and more, in the winter when welders are running. Right now we have a $2,000 credit.”
The Isle La Motte Elementary School’s 47kW PV system is estimated to offset all the electrical usage at the school that is located on the island of Isle La Motte in the very northwestern corner of Vermont. It was designed to attach to the standing seam roof of the school, without penetrating the roof. Due to a few shading obstacles, a relatively new optimizer system was used. Each solar panel has its own optimizer so that it can perform independently and at its best. If one panel is shaded, other panels on the roof are not affected. Ben Gordesky, the renewable energy manager at DC Energy Innovations conveyed that they “were very excited to have helped the school become carbon-neutral and realize long term savings for the town taxpayers.”
D.C Energy Innovations has also installed some other interesting systems beyond the Champlain islands of Vermont, such as five projects for Housing Vermont, the well-known affordable housing provider. These five different mixed-income housing locations are owned by the Champlain Housing Trust.
These projects helped one of the biggest affordable housing developers in the state to secure a lower cost of energy and keep this savings to pursue their mission of providing more affordable housing for Vermonters. The low-profile installation locations include: Good News Garage Building in Burlington, Willard Mill in Saint Albans, and Housing Vermont’s offices on Church Street in downtown Burlington.
Another solar project installed by DC Energy in 2011, is at the Sustainability Academy at Lawrence Barnes Elementary School in Burlington. This was the last of the Solar on Schools projects funded by a grant from the U.S.Congress that was spearheaded by Senator Bernie Sanders. Funding was also provided by Seventh Generation.
This project was unique because part of the system was a solar tracker that is installed on the roof of the building. If you are in the neighborhood and go to the baseball field behind the school, you can see the tracker following the sun!
The entire system is connected to the school-wide energy monitoring system which monitors all energy usage in the building.
Another renewable energy installation was of a Northern Power Systems 100KW community-scale wind turbine at Northland Job Corps in Vergennes, VT. This system is owned by Green Mountain Power for the utility to generate some of its own renewable electricity. Some of the power generated helps offset the energy costs for the host facility.
The host facility provides training for young people who are struggling to find a career. The energy produced by this system helps this organization to have more funds for their primary mission instead of going into their electrical bill.
This turbine is visible at many points along Route 7 as you approach Vergennes, as well as from many vantage points in Vergennes.
DC Energy Innovations was started in 2002 and is PV NABCEP certified. Owner, Dwayne Cormier, has been installing renewable energy systems since 2005 and manager, Ben Gordesky, has been installing renewable energy systems since 2009. The company is based in North Hero and in Burlington, VT. More info can be found at www.dcenergyinnovations.com or (802) 372-9514.