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GMP, City of Rutland collaborate on solar streetlight pilot

25 February 2013

RUTLAND, Vt. – The Vermont Public Service Board has approved plans for a solar streetlight pilot program in Rutland, a collaborative effort between the city and Green Mountain Power.
 
“This project will give us insights into the suitability and efficacy of solar streetlights, which are quite new to the marketplace but have great potential,” said Mary Powell, GMP’s president and CEO.  “The pilot is part of our commitment to make Rutland the Solar Capital of New England.  Not only are we facilitating solar development, we plan a series of pilot programs to study various technologies, rate choices and customer programs in Rutland.”
 
Under the plan approved by the PSB, GMP will purchase and the city will install eight solar-powered LED streetlights in Depot Park, replacing existing, less-efficient lights.  The new lights, like the existing ones, have an ornamental-style design featuring black poles.
 
The new lights are expected to produce about 93 percent of the electricity they consume, using thin-film solar collectors.  The collectors are wrapped around the pole, and are designed so damage to one section does not affect adjacent collectors.
 
“Not only will we be helping GMP test the product, we’ll be supporting a Vermont manufacturer,” Mayor Chris Louras said.  “We’ll also significantly reduce the environmental impact of the park’s lighting, and make a very visible statement as part of the Solar Capital initiative in Rutland.”
 
The new lights, with a combination of solar production and high-efficiency LED lighting, will cut energy consumption by about 8,000 kilowatt-hours, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by more than three tons annually.
 
In addition to the streetlight pilot, the PSB approved use of incentives to build three customer-owned solar charging stations.  The project proposals were supported by the Vermont Department of Public Service, Conservation Law Foundation, Citizens Action Network, and Renewable Energy Vermont.
 
GMP’s solar capital initiative is intended to make Rutland the solar capital of New England, with the highest per-capita solar reliance of any city in the region.  GMP has completed the 150-kilowatt Creek Path Solar Farm, purchased a majority interest in a 150-kW project at the former Poor Farm, recently agreed with Rutland Regional Medical Center to build a 150-kW project on its land, and is planning what could be the state’s largest project, the Stafford Hill Solar Farm, on the city’s former landfill.  At least half a dozen solar companies are investigating potential projects in Rutland as part of the Solar Capital effort, which includes efforts to recruit new businesses in Rutland.  Two such businesses, Small Dog Electronics and Same Sun Choice, are expected to open their doors this spring.
 
About Green Mountain Power
Green Mountain Power (www.greenmountainpower.com) transmits, distributes and sells electricity in the state of Vermont. The company, which serves more than 250,000 customers, has set its vision to be the best small utility in America.

 Contact: Steve Costello, Green Mountain Power, (802) 793-4031