Micro-wind turbines generating power at Castleton College

05 September 2013

Castleton, VT -   Castleton College unveiled four micro-wind turbines on the roof of Hoff Hall today, in front of a crowd of students, faculty, and staff. The micro-wind turbines, with a blade diameter of three feet, will produce just less than one kilowatt when operating at full power.  The devices are the first commercial deployment of this technology in Vermont.   

“We are very proud to be a test site for JLM’s innovative wind turbine array technology,” said Castleton President Dave Wolk.  “This new and exciting energy source is an important step in keeping with our green campus initiative and reducing our carbon footprint.”

The micro-turbines share the roof of Hoff Hall with a 28.8 kW solar array (120 panels) that was installed when the building was constructed.  These specific micro-wind turbines are the only wind turbines designed to coexist with solar energy.  Wind and solar generation are considered to be complementary renewable generation sources.  Solar production peaks during the summer months, while wind produces more power during the winter.  Small-scale hybrid systems such as this one may be one of the keys to bringing more renewable power on to the grid.

JLM Energy of Rocklin, California, manufacturer of the Zefr micro-wind turbine, is a partner in this project. They provided two turbines to Castleton at no cost in an effort to prove the technology in the Vermont climate.  “This is our first installation of Zefr micro-wind turbines east of Arizona, and we are looking forward to learning how they perform during winter in the Northeast,” said Farid Dibachi, CEO of JLM Energy. “This is also the first time we have put this technology on a college campus.”

The project was initiated by Green Mountain Power’s Energy Innovation Center, which brought Castleton and JLM Energy together. Castleton funded the project, and administration, students, faculty and administrators were involved at every step.  Peck Electric, of South Burlington, Vermont helped to design the roof mounting system and installed the micro-wind turbines.

“Partnerships like this are one of the keys to changing the way energy is generated and used in Vermont,” said Mary Powell, President and CEO of Green Mountain Power.  “GMP is excited to be working with organizations that are willing to try new things in the quest for energy solutions.”

The location of these four micro-turbines on the roof of Hoff Hall was specifically chosen to provide the highest possible visibility for students and visitors to the campus to provide educational opportunities and conversations about renewable energy. The college intends to continue its leadership in wind turbine technologies in the future, including, but not limited to, the addition of mini-wind turbines to all college rooftops that are conducive to the equipment.

The turbines will be connected to Measurz, a cloud-based software system by JLM Energy that will present real-time power generation data in the lobby of Hoff Hall – so students can view the energy usage and energy generation in real time. This same software package will allow the students to see electric energy usage data for each of the residence halls on campus.  Castleton will place this real-time data in the public domain for educational opportunities beyond the college campus.


About Castleton
With less than 2,000 full time undergraduate and just over 2,100 total students, Castleton is small enough to be a community where individuals matter, yet large enough to offer a diverse and challenging curriculum with more than 30 academic programs, 40 student clubs and organizations, and 20 varsity sports. At Castleton there is an understanding of the need for both career preparation and a liberal arts education.

About JLM Energy
JLM Energy (www.jlmei.com) is an energy technology company; a team of engineers, entrepreneurs and customer-facing professionals dedicated to research and development of products aimed at reducing the energy expenditure of commercial, industrial and residential customers.

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 company in America.  

Contact: Jeff Weld, Director of College Relations & Sports Information, Castleton State College
(802) 468-6052     jeff.weld@castleton.edu