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On November 4, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Gov. Peter Shumlin, and representatives of IBM, Sandia National Laboratories, and the US Department of Energy launched the Vermont Photovoltaic Regional Test Center in Williston, Vermont. The center will be used for research on cutting costs of solar power and integrating solar energy into the state’s grid.
Funding of $3 million for the project is being provided by the US DOE’s SunShot Initiative. The initiative’s goal is to reduce the cost of solar energy by 75% by 2020 and make solar power provide at least 15% of America’s electricity 2030.
The Regional Test Center is one of five such centers being opened to evaluate solar photovoltaic systems, collecting data from actual installations. The data will help with determining the effectiveness of systems in varying weather conditions, such as Vermont’s relatively harsh winters and limited sunshine.
Bernie Sanders said, “We have a bold vision here in Vermont and across the country for an energy transformation phasing fossil fuels out as quickly as possible in favor of clean, renewable energy. People understand that solar has huge potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create good jobs.”
Governor Shumlin added, “Vermont will be playing a leading role in critical research and development to advance clean solar power.” He pointed out that Vermont has more green jobs per capita than any other state.
IBM will host the center at their Williston, Vermont campus. The facility itself will have up to 300 kW of capacity.