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Four solar farm grants available to Rutland City non-profits

RUTLAND - Continuing its effort to make Rutland the solar capital of New England, on July 2 Green Mountain Power kicked off a contest that will help four city non-profits build solar arrays.

The Vermont Public Service Board approved a GMP proposal to award four matching grants of up to $20,000 each to Rutland non-profit groups, and GMP is soliciting organizations to apply for the grants.

"We want to help nonprofits achieve their renewable energy goals and begin to enjoy the direct benefits solar can provide," said GMP President and CEO Mary Powell. "We are also going to consider the potential educational value of each proposed project, so we can maximize that value for the community at large."

The grant winners will be selected based on criteria that include availability of land or rooftop space suitable for an array; overall impact to publicly promote renewable energy; ease of electric system integration; impact of the proposed project on the applicant's organization and community; and other sources of funding.

"If an applicant was able to put up more than just matching funds to the grant and produce even more energy, for example, that would make that project more appealing, everything else being equal," said Steve Costello, GMP's vice president for generation and energy innovation. "We designed this project as a part of our overall strategy to educate customers about the role new renewable projects can play in the community and assure that demonstration projects are developed that provide maximum benefit to the non-profits."

Grant applicants will work in cooperation with partner organizations approved by Renewable Energy Vermont, and REV members will assist applicants with their contest entries and installation services.
GMP collaborated with a number of stakeholders, including representatives from REV, the Department of Public Service, the Conservation Law Foundation, and the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation in developing the contest and application materials.

GMP's Rutland Solar Capital initiative is intended to build or inspire enough solar construction to give the city the highest per capita solar capacity in New England.

GMP already operates the Creek Path Solar Farm on a former brownfield; purchased an interest in the solar farm on the former Poor Farm off Woodstock Avenue; is in the planning stages for the Stafford Hill Solar Farm on a former city landfill; has filed for a state permit for the Solar Center at Rutland Regional, a 150-kilowatt project at the hospital; and recently signed an agreement to build a 75-kW solar array on the College of St. Joseph gymnasium roof.

The company continues to talk with numerous solar developers, organizations and local businesses about power purchase agreements and other potential projects in the city.

For an application or more information about applying for a grant, non-profits should contact David Dunn at the GMP Energy Innovation Center at 747-5681 or email david.dunn@greenmountainpower.com.