SOURCE: Central Vermont Public Service Corporation

Central Vermont Public Service Corporation

June 22, 2010 13:33 ET

CV Unveils Solar Array and Education Center

RUTLAND, VT--(Marketwire - June 22, 2010) -  Embracing renewable energy and hoping to educate Vermonters about it, Central Vermont Public Service (NYSE: CV) today unveiled its new Rutland Town solar project and renewable energy education center.

CV President Bob Young was joined by Gov. Jim Douglas and representatives of the Stafford Technical Center and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers - Local 300, who helped build the most publicly accessible solar project in the state.

"This will be much more than just a solar project," Douglas said. "It is a true renewable education complex, with hydro generation across Route 7, and a wind measurement tower that may be replaced with a wind turbine or two in the future. Together with the educational displays, these generation facilities will educate thousands of Vermont students who will be welcomed in the next few years."

Along with the solar display, CV installed six museum-style educational displays that will provide visitors with a self-guided look at the array and other forms of renewable energy. While formal tours will be available to schools and other organizations, the displays highlight CV's power supply history and explain how five different renewable energy sources create electricity.

"We felt it was important to not just build the solar array, but to make it accessible to the public so people could learn about the project and renewable energy production," CV President Bob Young said. "We are quite proud of the fact that we have arguably the cleanest power supply in the nation, but we also wanted to explain in simple terms the complexities of renewable energy generation."

The displays are designed for all ages, and provide simple but factual explanations of generation via wind, water, biomass, sunlight and cow manure, or CVPS Cow Power™.

Stafford Director Lyle Jepson said the project afforded students a tremendous opportunity. "Hands-on learning is critical to our students, and this project provided not only that, but an opportunity to work with a major local employer and understand how it operates," Jepson said. "They got to work with union members, with senior CV employees and with contractors, all of them as focused on the students' education as on their own jobs."

The educational aspects of the project prompted special note from the Vermont Public Service Board when it approved the plan last year.

"Unlike most utility projects reviewed by the board, the project is designed to be highly visible in order to fulfill one of its intended purposes -- public education of photovoltaic projects," the PSB said. "The integration of educational materials and interpretive signs into the project design, along with the proposed installation of new plantings, represents appropriate mitigation for any changes associated with the removal of existing trees... Parking and pedestrian access... plantings, and the equipment shed, all designed by local high school students at the Stafford Technical Center in Rutland, are intended to enhance both the appearance of the site and the educational value of the project for local students and the general public."

Matt Lash, marketing and business development director for the IBEW, which represents about half of CV's 530 employees, lauded the collaboration, which also included CV Solar and Wind, Sherwin Electric and Reknew Energy Systems Inc. "Our partnership with CV has grown way beyond the day-to-day operations of the core utility business," Lash said. "CV never considered using non-union labor, which speaks volumes about how we have grown together to serve our collective customers and the state of Vermont."

The 50-kilowatt solar project includes 264 solar panels, each 3 by 5 feet wide, mounted eight at a time to create 33 individual, stationary modules. Under perfect sun conditions, the project can produce enough energy to power about 50 homes; over the course of an average year, it is expected to provide enough energy to meet the entire needs of 10 to 11 homes. The approximately $400,000 project was funded by CVPS, a rebate on insurance related to the sale of Vermont Yankee, and a grant from the Vermont Clean Energy Development Fund.

Contact Information

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