Thursday, Aug. 4 — RUTLAND — Same Sun of Vermont announces the completion and commissioning of two ground-mounted solar arrays: a traditional array and a solar carport, designed in partnership with TimberHomes VT, located at The Royal Group, Inc. facility at 150 Woodstock Avenue. Rutland Mayor David Allaire will cut a ribbon at 10 a.m. on Aug. 4 in celebration of this project.
In 1935, Mr. Louis “Bunnie” Accavallo opened the Royal Glass Company in Rutland. Bunnie’s son, Lee Accavallo acquired and rebranded the business as the Royal Group in 1978, offering expanded services. In 2019 Lee’s son Rex purchased the company and committed to the original core values of his grandfather. In July 2020, Rex expanded the company by opening another location in Essex Junction. When Rex Accavallo approached Same Sun, he dreamed of bringing the Royal Group further into the 21st Century.
“At Royal Group, we believe in doing our part to help our community and world transition to better energy sources,” Accavallo said. “Solar energy is the cleanest and most abundant renewable energy source available, which is why we’re going all-in on this awesome technology.” Accavallo decided to go the route of a “statement piece,” something that would catch the eye of customers and passersby. This statement piece comes in the form of a ground-mount beside a mural on the side of the building and the timber-framed solar carport above their parking lot in the front.”
“Rex wanted to go solar from the beginning of his ownership of the Royal Group. The first idea was the rooftop of the building, but the cost of structural upgrades was prohibitive,” said Philip Allen, co-owner of Same Sun of Vermont. “Over time, we were able to build a conventional solar ground array behind and below the building and then the carport. The carport combines beauty, functionality, and kilowatt-hour production. The Royal Group’s two solar arrays are 35.64 KWDC and are expected to produce nearly 40,000 kWh annually, providing the Royal Group with 100% of their electrical needs.”
The carport frame was built by Timberhomes VT, a 17-person strong, worker-owned cooperative with shops in Montpelier and Vershire, Vermont. “As a design/build timber frame construction company, TimberHomes endeavors to use, as much as possible, local and regional materials in its work. The TimberHomes carports are a good example of this,” said member-owner Timo Bradley.
“The timbers for the carport come from a couple of different sawmills in the area. The posts and lower struts are naturally rot-resistant White Oak sourced from Southern Vermont. The upper timbers, principal rafters, and purlins are White Pine, sourced from Central Vermont.” Bradley continued. “The use of local wood is a central tenet of TimberHomes’ notion of what it means to be environmentally responsible. While not usually perfect in appearance, the Northeastern wood choices are strong and well suited for their purpose. The TimberHomes’ timbers are also not kiln dried and can be considered minimally processed.
“It is on purpose that TimberHomes, unlike some competitors, elects not to construct their structures with processed Western Doug Fir or some other material. Especially for a carport, whose purpose is to lower the use of fossil fuels.”
In the lifecycle of the Royal Group’s two solar arrays, 450 tons of carbon will be offset. The public, as well as other local businesses, are welcome to join the Royal Group and Same Sun of Vermont on-site for a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Aug. 4 at 10 a.m.
Same Sun of Vermont was established in 2011 by Marlene Lederman Allen and Philip Allen of Rutland Town and is located in downtown Rutland. For more info visit: samesunvt.com.