GMP Picks Same Sun to Build Creek Path Solar Project
21 August 2012
RUTLAND, Vt. – Same Sun of Vermont has been selected to build Green Mountain Power’s Creek Path Solar Farm on Cleveland Avenue, the company’s first major array planned in the city of Rutland.
Same Sun, based in Rutland, was chosen to build the 150-kilowatt solar farm from among 12 bidders from throughout Vermont, New England and as far away as Atlanta.
“We were thrilled by the number and quality of bids we received, and equally delighted to name Same Sun as the winning bidder,” GMP President and CEO Mary Powell said. “Bidders offered some creative and interesting proposals, and Same Sun stood out from the pack. Their bid package was exceptional.
“They offered an extremely competitive price, components made in America, and a stable of Rutland and Vermont subcontractors and suppliers,” Powell said. “Given Same Sun’s relatively small size, we were surprised by the strength of their bid, and delighted to be able to award the contract to them. Although Same Sun was the selected bidder for the Creek Path Solar Farm, we look forward to working with all of these bidders in the future.”
The announcement came at a solar summit held in Rutland, where solar and other renewable developers, local and state officials and business leaders met to learn about and discuss GMP’s vision to make Rutland the solar capital of Vermont and create enough solar to provide the highest solar reliance per capita of any city in the northeast.
“We are thrilled to have won the contract, which strengthens our business and commitment to Rutland,” said Philip Allen and Marlene Lederman Allen, owners of Same Sun. “We strongly support GMP’s plans to help strengthen downtown and hope to be an active and supportive partner in the company’s effort to make Rutland the solar capitol of Vermont.”
The Creek Path Solar Farm, if approved by state regulators, will be nestled onto a GMP-owned 3-acre lot between West Street, Cleveland Avenue and East Creek, adjacent to Rutland’s new Creek Path, for which the solar farm is named.
“As we develop new projects, we hope to give each a distinctive name that not only identifies it, but connects it to the community in a meaningful way or highlights a local attribute or point of pride,” said Steve Costello, GMP’s vice president for generation and energy innovation. “Our goals in Rutland go well beyond just building solar – working with the Rutland Economic Development Corporation and Rutland Redevelopment Authority and others, we want to be a catalyst for development of new economic engines, and look for new ways to build on the community’s strengths.”
Toward that end, GMP provided resource packages to developers, including information on brownfields that may be suitable for solar development, city maps, lists of available office and commercial space, and contact information for state, local and regional government agencies and business development groups that could provide assistance.
Solar Capital Plans Outlined
The company also laid out a variety of ways it hopes to collaborate with others to cost-effectively achieve the solar capital goals:
· Brownfield Redevelopment – Giving otherwise dormant land a new purpose can turn troubled spaces into city assets. GMP has been collaborating with city and regional planning partners to identify sites for developers to consider.
· Distribution System Mapping – GMP is working on a program to provide better information to developers such as the location of three-phase lines, distances from substations, and areas in need of distributed generation through online mapping.
· Net Metering – Net metering provides an effective mechanism for businesses and individuals to invest in solar energy projects. GMP will seek a tariff change to remove a $180 fee charged to new net-metering customers in the former CVPS service territory.
· Power Purchase Agreements – Having a PPA with a utility can be one of the faster ways for a developer to get financing for a project. To the extent that developers are able to offer competitive terms, GMP will consider such proposals.
· Solar Leasing – GMP will examine the potential to participate in leasing residential solar installations to customers, along with on-bill financing, in partnership with marketing groups and installers.
· Standard Offer Projects – The Vermont Legislature recently extended the current Standard Offer Program for new renewable projects from 50 to 125 megawatts. The additional 75 MW of capacity annually represents opportunities for developers to execute long-term fixed-price electric power contracts for purchase by Vermont utilities.
· Street Lighting – GMP will examine solar street lighting options and work with the city to reduce street lighting energy consumption.
· Tax Equity – Tax equity partnerships can help developers finance projects. GMP has a limited tax equity appetite, but the company and other strategic partners may be able to help developers locate tax equity partners.
· Utility Development – GMP will make investments in solar projects in Rutland, but the company will also be focused on partnership opportunities with other developers.
Officials discussed GMP’s goals in the context of Vermont’s energy plan, which envisions a major expansion of renewable energy to power and heat buildings and wean Vermonters off foreign oil. GMP is developing concepts for future customer programs related to electric vehicles, customer energy management, heat pumps and renewable energy.
“While we are focused on Rutland, we are confident that our collective efforts here can provide a blueprint to expand solar and other renewables in a similar way statewide, reduce our reliance on foreign oil and the environmental impact of energy consumption, and provide a new economic model,” Costello said. “This discussion is about more than how we meet our energy needs – it’s about what kind of future we want to provide for subsequent generations.”
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.
Steve Costello, Green Mountain Power, 802-747-5427