Solar Array Will Power Strafford Organizations

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Front Page / Jul. 30, 2015 10:12am EDT

By Jennifer Brown


Governor Peter Shumlin was on hand Thursday for the ceremonial ribbon cutting of the 110.3 kW community solar array along Route 132 in Strafford. The array, which sits on Rod Maclay’s Strafford Saddlery property, will provide electricity via net metering to the Newton School, the town offices, and various Strafford non-profits. (Herald / Tim Calabro) Governor Peter Shumlin was on hand Thursday for the ceremonial ribbon cutting of the 110.3 kW community solar array along Route 132 in Strafford. The array, which sits on Rod Maclay’s Strafford Saddlery property, will provide electricity via net metering to the Newton School, the town offices, and various Strafford non-profits. (Herald / Tim Calabro) A small but enthusiastic crowd greeted Gov. Peter Shumlin as he dedicated the Strafford Community Solar array on Thursday.

The clean power that the array will produce will benefit community buildings in Strafford, including the town garage and town clerk’s office, Barrett Hall, the Newton School, Morrill Library, and the United Church of Strafford.

The Strafford Saddlery Shop, which is located directly behind the array, will also be 100% powered by the renewable clean resource.

The array is located 0.4 miles from the school, up Route 132 toward Sharon Hill. The 374 panels— each rated for 295-watts—are mounted on poles.


Jeff Wolfe of Wolfe Energy, LLC introduces the assembled crowd to the town’s newly-finished solar farm, which sits along Route 132 on property owned by Strafford Saddlery. (Herald / Tim Calabro) Jeff Wolfe of Wolfe Energy, LLC introduces the assembled crowd to the town’s newly-finished solar farm, which sits along Route 132 on property owned by Strafford Saddlery. (Herald / Tim Calabro) The array was partly funded by a Clean Energy Development Fund grant from the state for $32,250. The project received its Act 248 permit and the requisite certificate of public good from the Public Service Board, which reviews proposed energy installations.

The new 110.3kW array is privately owned and operated in a collaborative effort between two companies: Ecogy Solar of Brooklyn, N.Y., the majority owner and financier, and Wolfe Energy LLC, of Strafford.

Gov. Shumlin, who has been pushing to get Vermont 90% powered by renewable energy by 2015, spoke with urgency: “Strafford is setting an example for what we’ve got to do around the rest of the planet. Is there anything more important than the actions we are taking today?” he asked the gathering.

For the Children

He continued, “We need to move to clean, renewable power. Vermont is getting this one right, and making a difference for future generations.”

Jack Bertuzzi, the principal at Ecogy Solar, explained that this was an example of using open space for the community’s economic benefit. The electricity generated by the array, which will be sold to Green Mountain Power, will result in electric-bill credits for the abovenamed buildings—and savings for taxpayers.

Dori Wolfe, of Wolfe Energy, worked hard to make this array happen. She remembered the vision of the Newton School principal, Paul Lowe. She described how, afwhere ter putting a few panels on the Ruth Wallace Memorial Library at the Newton School, Lowe asked how they could next power the whole school.

Landowners Rod and Cindy Maclay agreed to let the panels be erected on a steep incline in front of the Saddlery Shop because, as Maclay said, “I just want the children to see where their power is coming from.”

People in the crowd surmised that the grass under the panels would be a good place to graze sheep.

In keeping with the spirit of the community array, representatives from each of the Strafford community buildings and Rod Maclay helped Gov. Shumlin cut the ribbon.

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