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Vermont Governor announces statewide solar initiative for government buildings, nearly 4MW of AllSun Trackers to be used

Projects will provide solar energy, jobs and guaranteed taxpayer savings

MONTPELIER – Gov. Peter Shumlin and Vermont renewable energy businesses today announced an initiative to provide solar power to 10 state facilities located throughout Vermont, including 7 correctional facilities, the Pavilion Building that houses the Governor’s Office, and state office buildings in Bennington and Brattleboro. The effort will support local green energy production and manufacturing, and reduce the energy costs for the power produced by at least 5 percent, saving taxpayers more than $1 million.

“Moving Vermont from fossil fuels to renewable energy is critical,” the Governor said, joined by Buildings and General Services Commissioner Michael Obuchowski, Public Service Commissioner Chris Recchia, and others outside the Pavilion Building. “The State is leading by example, using solar projects to improve the environment, create jobs for Vermonters, and hold down energy costs for taxpayers.”

In order to challenge developers to provide lower cost renewable power in support of the Comprehensive Energy Plan, the State initiated a competitive bidding process in July 2011, seeking renewable energy projects for state facilities at a competitive or neutral cost.

AllEarth Renewables of Williston won the competitive bidding process, offering a guaranteed 5 percent savings over current costs for the delivery of renewable solar power. Although the process was initially delayed in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene, the project has now gained momentum with the signing of agreements covering ten state facilities.

AllEarth will site, permit, and construct the solar projects up to 500 kW in size to serve the facilities chosen in this initial round.  Under a 20 year agreement, the State will pay nothing for the hardware, and will save a guaranteed 5 percent for this Vermont-generated solar energy. In addition, the State will save 10 percent for the electricity generated by any of these projects that are hosted on state land, and will have an option to buy these systems after seven years and again at intervals throughout the contract.

The project will produce nearly 5 million kWh of solar power annually.

AllSun Trackers – which are manufactured in Williston and rely on installation labor from Vermont companies like Timberline Electric and Engineers Construction Inc. – will be used for the projects.

“This is an exciting initiative for Vermont’s renewable energy industry,” said Andrew Savage of AllEarth Renewables. “Not only will the state be producing local solar energy with guaranteed taxpayer savings through these contracts, but that work will trigger an entire supply chain of business activity throughout Vermont.”

The contracts provide more than $1 million in savings to taxpayers over the contract term.

“This is Vermont at its best, a Vermont company partnered with a Vermont manufacturer producing renewable energy to support Vermont state government,” said Michael Obuchowski, Commissioner of Buildings and General Services.

Siting and permitting work will begin immediately. The projects are expected to be located throughout the state and the first projects will be complete early next year.

“This is an important and innovative way of achieving what Vermonters want – cost-effective, clean energy that provides jobs for Vermonters and helps stabilize energy costs for the future,” said Mary Powell, president and chief executive officer of Green Mountain Power, the utility serving many of the project sites. “The Governor and his administration are to be congratulated for this important initiative showing how customers can participate actively in their energy future.”

The Governor noted that solar installations in Vermont have more than doubled since he came into office and that the state’s net metering program is considered a model for the rest of the nation. “I am a big fan of net metering and am committed to ensuring Vermont continues to lead the nation in the deployment of these projects,” he concluded.

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