Hilltop Montessori School goes solar

BRATTLEBORO — At 10:30 a.m. on Dec. 31, 2013, Hilltop Montessori School activated 192 new roof-mounted solar photovoltaic panels, together expected to generate approximately 60,000 kilowatts of electricity per year.

The installation of the panels - a collaboration of Hilltop, the investment firm Wisdom and Power LLC of Norwich, and Integrated Solar Applications of Brattleboro - will supply all the power required to run the school.

The project also will allow the school to further its mission, Head of School Tamara Mount said in a press announcement.

“Teaching students about conservation and renewable energy - taking care of our planet - is an important part of Montessori educational philosophy,” she said.

The solar array was installed at no cost to Hilltop. Wisdom and Power LLC invested the capital to install the array. In return, Hilltop will pay 90 percent of the monthly electric costs to the firm.

After seven years, the school may choose to purchase the panels at fair market value or continue to pay the investor.

Integrated Solar, which has worked on renewable energy projects in Vermont and New Hampshire for nearly 40 years, was instrumental in shepherding the project to fruition, Hilltop noted.

“They conducted feasibility studies, introduced the school to investors, and installed the whole system. It was a turn-key product,” said Seth Harter, a Hilltop parent volunteer. “It's been wonderful working with them, and a fantastic opportunity for the school.”

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