Largest solar installation in Burlington now operating at Rock Point

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Largest solar installation in Burlington now operating at Rock Point

Tue, 01/17/2012 - 12:14pm -- tim

Rock Point School in collaboration with the Episcopal Disocese of Vermont and AllEarth Renewables proudly announced Burlington’s newest and largest solar installation is now fully operating.
The solar system is a project aimed at a larger commitment to energy efficiency, energy education, and future collaborations with local organizations in environmental endeavors.
This solar system is anticipated to produce 205,000kWh of power each year, representing about 60-75 percent of all energy consumed on the Rock Point property.

Not only will the solar installation produce obvious environmental benefits, reducing the school's carbon footprint, but also provide learning opportunities for students, and aid the school financially drastically reducing their electric bill. Money saved by the solar system will be put into reconstruction and maintenance of the schools 1888 buildings.
The 147kW solar installation is made up of 35 AllSun Trackers,, carefully desgined by AllEarth Renewables of Williston. Each tracker converts renewable energy from the sun into useable electric power. The tracks follow the sun's movements through out the day using GPS and wireless technology. The energy converted by each track is net metered, allowing surplus electricity created to be stored on a grid for later or alternative use.
For the first five years AllEarth Renewables will own the solar system to take advantage of the tax reduction incentives, that non-profit organizations are not eligible for. This five year period is part of a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) between Rock Point School, the Diocese and AllEarth Renewables. The Diocese and Rock Point school will take ownership of the system at the end of their five year agreement, purchasing the system at fair market value, projected to be 30% of the original cost. Both Rock Point School and the Diocese will split ownership equally. This agreement allows both institutions to receive benefits of renewable energy at a fair price, and AllEarth to make a profit.
Rock Point School will also use the solar system in its science curriculum headed by school science teacher, Kathy Rossman. Students will learn the basics of solar energy, how the system operates and the finances and economic benefits of the system. Using the solar system the school hopes to establish connections with other educational and environmental institutions. This spring students will take younger children from local elementary schools and community organizations into the solar system field to teach them about solar energy. Additionally the students will examine the financial and energy results from the system.
Rt. Rev. Thomas C. Ely stated the solar installation is a key factor in moving the church and school in efforts to protect the environment and give back to the earth. Ely says, ‘Beyond the tangible financial benefits that will accrue to the Diocese and Rock Point School as a result of the new Solar Installation, this commitment to renewable energy is one important step in fulfillment of our commitment to energy conservation and renewable energy on Rock Point. I also believe that the solar installation offers a wonderful educational opportunity for the Rock Point students and for all of us as we will be reminded daily of the need to do all we can to reduce our carbon footprint and be good stewards of the earth.’