By GET staff
The 150-kilowatt Boardman Hill Solar Farm in West Rutland, Vermont, was designed, installed, and commissioned by Aegis Renewable Energy in late 2014.
It finally had its ribbon-cutting ceremony, on October 25, 2015.
The solar farm is an entirely Vermont-grown project, owned and operated under democratic management by its members. At the ceremony, the member-owners officially retired the Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) the farm had received so far. These two conditions make it a “Vermont Grown, Vermont Green” project, the first community solar array that meets that goal.
The Boardman Hill Solar Farm is owned by thirty Vermont families and small businesses who purchased shares in the project. Under its direct ownership structure, each Boardman Hill member-owner receives economic benefits of a share of the project, rather than being retained by third-party owners or financiers. The benefits include a 30% investment tax credit and net metering credits valued at approximately 125% of retail electrical rates.
It is noteworthy that the member-owners of the Boardman Hill Solar Farm decided to retain the RECs generated by the project. This means that they are not allowing others to buy the credit for going green, but are retaining that credit in their organization. Polluters often buy RECs so they can claim to have reduced their pollution, but the Boardman Hill Solar Farm was built, in part, to address pollution, and its members do not want their efforts to be used by others as an excuse to continue producing polluting emissions.
The member-owners of the Boardman Hill Community Solar Farm like to think their project stands out as an example for what solar development should be. They have created a community solar project that returns all of the value that it generates to the local community and to the environment, making their solar farm truly “Vermont Grown, Vermont Green.”
Aegis Renewable Energy intentionally made the project a special case. They provided draft documents for the operating agreement, general conditions, and land lease. They structured the owner contracts, and provided other outreach efforts. They did the negotiations with the Vermont Land Trust. They designed, permitted, and installed the project, and continue to maintain it. All of this is particularly important because they made a conscious decision to open-source all their work, so as to provide it as a model for other projects.
The Boardman Hill Solar Farm won the award at the VECAN Conference for Best Renewable Project of 2015.
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