Local News

Benson landowner donates renewable energy credits to GMC

POULTNEY—Green Mountain College has entered into a unique net-metering agreement with a Benson landowner who has completed installation of a 150 kW solar electric project on his Stage Road property. The project, which has already begun to generate power, is brokered by Tunbridge Solar, LLC.

What makes this project different is that the property owner, Aaron Kelly, has offered to give up the sale of renewable energy certificates (RECs) and donate them to the college. GMC will save 5 percent on the value of the solar energy produced. The project will offset approximately 8 percent of the college’s electricity consumption on campus.

“This allows the college to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions while saving approximately $1300 per year in electricity costs,” said Aaron Witham, GMC’s sustainability director.

“Vermont allows its wind and solar power producers to sell their RECs to out of state polluters and at the same time apply them toward meeting the state’s own renewable energy goals,” explains Kelly, a student at Vermont Law School. “Many of these RECs are sold to out-of-state utilities which still generate most of their power through fossil fuels like oil, coal and gas. I made a conscious decision not to sell the credits.”

Kelly also insisted on using solar panels produced by a domestic supplier—the 576 panels were manufactured in Oregon.

The project is a major step in Green Mountain College’s goal of using 100-percent renewable energy by 2020.

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