BTV’s Parking Garage Solar Garden Grows Renewable, Local Energy
Burlington, VT – July 3, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger today joined the Burlington Electric Department (BED), Burlington International Airport (BTV), and Encore Redevelopment to formally unveil a 500 kW solar array atop the airport’s parking garage. This is the latest project in the City’s ongoing commitment to add more community solar to its portfolio and brings Burlington’s total installed solar photovoltaic to 81 projects, generating 1.8 megawatts of power for the City. Over the anticipated 30-year life of the airport solar project, BED expects to save $3.5 million in power costs, an average of approximately $117,000 annually.
“Burlington is proud to be a national leader in energy innovation,” said Mayor Weinberger. “Building community-scale solar has been one of the City’s key energy initiatives during the past three years. This solar array at BTV is the first major solar project constructed on City-owned property, and we intend to start construction on another array at the BED offices on Pine Street soon. Burlington’s future burns brighter because today we are rising to the challenge of building non-polluting, locally-sourced renewable power.”
This addition to Burlington’s renewable energy sources is good news for residents and businesses alike. It helps to ensure that low-cost and locally-generated power will be available during times of high use, such as hot summer days when demand for energy is greatest. Consequently, peak energy production and peak energy usage will coincide, offsetting costs and reducing reliance on more expensive energy sources.
“This solar garden is another way Burlington Electric sources 100% of its power from renewable generation like solar, wind, water, and biomass,” said BED General Manager Neale Lunderville. “In addition to keeping our energy dollars local, this solar array was made in the USA by American workers, and assembled here in Vermont by Vermonters. We are creating local jobs, generating clean energy, reducing stress on the grid, and keeping rates low and stable for customers – all at the same time. Initiatives like this are the key to a sustainable energy future that can support a thriving economy.”
The collaboration between BED and BTV will reduce the need to buy power from outside sources. The solar array will be yet another BED-owned asset, and BED will operate the system, like the McNeil Generating Station and the Winooski One Hydro Plant. Solar power systems have the advantage of integrating low maintenance, non-moving mechanical parts, which provide quiet operation. Even more important, constant sunlight is not required for solar to be viable; new storage technology allows for power to be generated, stored, and used when needed.
“The airport is pleased to now have two co-existing rooftop gardens, one solar and one green,” said Gene Richards, BTV Director of Aviation. “We expanded the parking garage years ago with the intent of installing a solar array, and we are pleased to make this vision a reality. It is my hope that passengers, especially visitors from afar, will gaze down from their aircraft windows and one of their first impressions, in addition to our gorgeous lake and mountains, will be our rooftop solar garden, showing Vermont’s strong spirit of innovation and independence.”
BED and BTV partnered with Encore Redevelopment, a Burlington-based company that focuses on innovation solutions for underutilized property and community-scale renewable energy systems. Encore managed the project design, permitting, construction, and commissioning.
“With every new solar panel raised, Vermont is lighting the path toward energy independence and environmental protection,” said Chad Farrell, Principal of Encore Redevelopment. “As a Burlington company, we are especially proud of working with the home team on such an important project. The Mayor’s vision for siting more solar power on underutilized City-owned property is the right approach and, once again, demonstrates Burlington’s passion for energy innovation.”
The airport solar array started producing electricity earlier this year. Since commissioning, the array has produced over 325,000 kilowatt hours of electricity.
Contact: Mike Kanarick