The Waitsfield Community Solar Project got a big boost Tuesday, in the form of an $80,000 grant from the state's Clean Energy Development Fund. Neighboring Warren was also granted $80,ooo for its community solar project, going up near the town's elementary school. These are just two of nine grants Gov. Peter Shumlin announced during his "Summer Solar Tour." All the grants were issued to community solar projects in Vermont.
Waitsfield Town Administrator Valerie Capels was among those gathered at the Waitsfield solar business Northern Reliability, where Shumlin announced the $442,750 in Clean Energy Development grant funding. The Clean Energy Development Fund was created to increase cost-effective and environmentally sustainable electric power resources and the use of combined heat and power technologies, according to a state press release.
“In Waitsfield, the 102 kilowatt, 330-panel solar array has been sized to provide enough locally-sourced renewable energy to support the Waitsfield Elementary School and what is believed to be soon, Vermont’s second 'Net-Zero' town office building,” said Valerie Capels. “Additional generation from the solar array will also help offset electric expenses of the municipal buildings including the fire station, town garage and the library.”
The Waitsfield Community Solar Project is located on town-owned property on Tremblay Road, near the town garage.
In a letter supporting the Waitsfield project, Mad River Valley Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Susan Klein wrote, "The Mad River Valley towns, including Waitsfield, have been at the forefront of energy generation and energy efficiency/weatherizing homes and town-owned buildings. Waitsfield’s intent to generate sufficient power to offset consumption at the elementary school, new town office, General Wait House, library and fire station are examples of its continued momentum of resource stewardship."
In addition to Waitsfield and Warren, other grant awards announced today include:
- Richford – Franklin Supervisory Union, roof of high school, 50 kilowatts, $45,500
- South Strafford – Town of Strafford and Newton School, field at 264 VT RT. 132, 65 kilowatts, $32,250
- Thetford – Thetford School Board, elementary school land, 141 kilowatts, $125,000
- Sharon – Town of Sharon, roof top project net metered to school, 12 kilowatts, $15,000
- North Thetford – United Church of Thetford, 15 kilowatts, $13,750
- Berlin – Town of Berlin, town offices roof top, 16.8 kilowatts, $20,000
- Shrewsbury – Shrewsbury Mountain School, 25 kilowatts, $31,250
With the receipt of grant funds announced Tuesday, Waitsfield plans to complete its community solar project this summer.