Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

Southern Vermont Solar

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George Harvey

Victoria Roberts and Simon Piluski, are the owners of Southern Vermont Solar (SVS).

Roberts got her introduction to the area of southeastern Vermont when she took a master’s degree at School for International Training. Piluski, on the other hand, is native to the area, and earned a B.S. at Marlboro College. After his college education, he became a licensed electrician. And he became one of the first solar electricians in Vermont to earn the highly respected NABCEP certification.

Together, they built a business with a clearly stated mission: “Our mission is to be a sustainable, value driven local business that helps our community make the bold transition off… fossil fuels. We deliver exceptional customer service and rewarding green careers to our employees in the shift to clean, renewable energy.

Asked about who they are, Piluski said, “The clean energy revolution is here and at Southern Vermont Solar, we are committed to leading our community in the transition! Based in Dummerston, Vermont, Southern Vermont Solar is a locally owned company founded in 2017 by Vermont Master Electrician and solar veteran, Simon Piluski. With high standards of professionalism and integrity, we provide expert solar design, installation, maintenance and repair, and grid-tied battery backup services to our local commercial, residential and municipal community.”

SVS mainly installs solar systems in Windham County, Vermont. They install Tesla Powerwalls or Enphase Ensemble Battery Systems for customers who want backup batteries. They told us, “We are partnered with GMP as installers for the various Vermont battery storage rebate programs.” This reduces the cost of battery backup quite a lot. SVS does not install off-grid systems.

SVS is a small installer, with nine employees, a size that is ideal for some customers. Piluski said, “Our work is a reflection of our commitment to investing in the improvement of our community. We intentionally approach each new project, ensuring a smart choice for our customers so they can enjoy the transition to an electrified, clean energy future.”

G.E.T. published an article in its June edition about an installation SVS did at the Putney Coop. That was a project that Roberts seemed to find particularly enjoyable, because she is a co-op member and particularly likes shopping there (https://bit.ly/Putney_Coop_solar).

Here, we report on another very recent project, the installation of a rooftop solar system at St. Michael Catholic School in Brattleboro. The school is directly across Walnut Street from St. Michael’s Church. It has been in operation since it was founded as Vermont’s first Catholic school in 1874. Now, nearly to its sesquicentennial, it has taken on something new, with help of Southern Vermont Solar. It is getting to the point of generating its own power from the sun.

SVS provide us with a statement of the scope of project before it began, giving us an idea of what SVS engagement in a system means. It said, “SVT Solar will provide the design, permitting, purchasing, and labor necessary to construct, commission, and interconnect the net-metered PV system to all current applicable codes, utility requirements, and to Vermont state laws at the time of this contract, not including future changes to regulations and statutes. SVT Solar will provide all materials for the PV System, associated wiring and components for interconnection, including a meter socket and disconnect for GMP use and will provide all permitting and utility paperwork.”

The array consists of 100 Hanwha Q.Cells, each 480 watts, giving it a total of 48 kilowatts (kW) DC. These have been placed on the school’s roof. Because of the construction of the building, they are quite out of sight from any place nearby. The system is on a flat roof, so it is ballasted, using an Ironridge BX racking system.

The St. Michael School system has five SolarEdge 7600-Watt inverters, which produce 38kW of AC power. Also, the 100 solar panels get 100 SolarEdge optimizers.

Roberts told us that the timing of this project could not have been better, because the Inflation Reduction Act provides direct payments from the federal government to non-profits and such similar organizations as municipalities, which were never able to get direct incentives in the past, because the incentives used to be tax reductions. This meant that it was frequent that when churches and schools had solar put up, the installation was paid for by a person or organization that contracted for the energy and could use a tax exemption to get the incentive benefit. Now, with direct payment of the incentive to the church or school, the entire process is much easier.

One thing she also mentioned was how much she enjoyed working with the people in the church and school. “They have been lovely to work with.”

Southern Vermont Solar’s web site is https://svtsolar.com.

Caption:

St. Michael School, showing its solar system, and St. Michael’s Catholic Church. Courtesy of Southern Vermont Solar

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