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Solar project at WSWMD is poised to start construction

BRATTLEBORO—If all goes as planned, construction on the net-metered photovoltaic solar array on the Windham Solid Waste Management District’s old landfill on Old Ferry Road could begin this July.

Frank Ruffolo, executive vice president with Sky Clean Energy, presented an update on the Sky Solar/Encore Renewable Energy project at the March 9 Windham Solid Waste Management District Board of Supervisors meeting.

Local interest in the solar array has been robust. The array has 18 net-metering subscribers, including the District, which will connect its offices and scale house to the project. Two of the major participants, the Brattleboro Housing Authority and the Brattleboro Retreat, want more energy than what’s available, Spencer said.

Other big clients include the town of Brattleboro, Brattleboro Union High School, and Marlboro College. Together with the Housing Authority and the Retreat, these five entities will take nearly seven-eighths of the solar array’s output.

Other, smaller subscribers include public schools in Vernon, Putney, Dummerston and Guilford, and town buildings in Readsboro, Vernon, Wardsboro, Newfane, Dummerston, and Halifax.

Sky Solar applied for a Certificate of Public Good from the Vermont Public Service Board in early November, Ruffolo said. The public hearing took place in late February. Ruffolo said he expects to receive the certificate in June, and foresees no problems with it because no abutters objected to the project.

The Green Mountain Power facility study is in progress, Ruffolo said, and the utility’s approval for the interconnection agreement should come in April.

The next step is to conduct a technology review and await or apply for other permits. “We got our storm water permit, and we will get the cap closure permit [for the landfill site] soon,” Ruffolo said.

Construction on the 5.737 megawatt direct-current/4.98 megawatt alternating-current solar array should begin in July. “In the early months of summer we expect a lot more construction,” Ruffolo said.

The project is expected to go online in November 2017.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #400 (Wednesday, March 22, 2017).

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