Green Mountain Power recently announced solar capital
initiatives that bring Rutland closer to becoming the solar capital
of New England, with the highest per-capita solar reliance of any
city in the region. GMP has completed the 150-kilowatt Creek
Path Solar Farm, purchased a majority interest in a 150-kW project
at the former Poor Farm, agreed with Rutland Regional Medical
Center to build a 150-kW project on its land, and is planning what
could be the state's largest project, the Stafford Hill Solar Farm,
on the city's former landfill.
At least half a dozen solar companies are investigating in
potential projects for Rutland as part of the Solar Capital effort,
which includes efforts to recruit new businesses in Rutland.
Two such businesses, Small Dog Electronics and Same Sun Choice, are
expected to open their doors this spring.
GMP, City of Rutland collaborate on solar streetlight
The Vermont Public Service Board has approved plans for a solar
streetlight pilot program in Rutland, a collaborative effort
between the city and Green Mountain Power.
"This project will give us insights into the suitability and
efficacy of solar streetlights, which are quite new to the
marketplace but have great potential," said Mary Powell, GMP's
president and CEO. "The pilot is part of our commitment to
make Rutland the Solar Capital of New England. Not only are
we facilitating solar development, we plan a series of pilot
programs to study various technologies, rate choices and customer
programs in Rutland."
Under the plan approved by the PSB, GMP will purchase and the
city will install eight solar-powered LED streetlights in Depot
Park, replacing existing, less-efficient lights. The new lights,
like the existing ones, have an ornamental-style design featuring
The new lights are expected to produce about 93 percent of the
electricity they consume, using thin-film solar
collectors. The collectors are wrapped around the pole, and
are designed so damage to one section does not affect adjacent
"Not only will we be helping GMP test the product, we'll be
supporting a Vermont manufacturer," Mayor Chris Louras said. "We'll
also significantly reduce the environmental impact of the park's
lighting, and make a very visible statement as part of the Solar
Capital initiative in Rutland."
The new lights, with a combination of solar production and
high-efficiency LED lighting, will cut energy consumption by
about 8,000 kilowatt-hours, reducing carbon dioxide
emissions by more than three tons annually.
In addition to the streetlight pilot, the PSB approved use of
incentives to build three customer-owned solar charging
stations. The project proposals were supported by the Vermont
Department of Public Service, Conservation Law Foundation, Citizens
Action Network, and Renewable Energy Vermont.
Rutland Regional Medical Center adds to Solar Capital
Hospital to host 150-kilowatt Green Mountain Power solar
Rutland Regional Medical Center announced Feb. 21 that it plans
to host Green Mountain Power's third Rutland solar farm under a
lease agreement designed to make use of hospital land with few
other potential uses.
"We support GMP's Solar Capital initiative and see this project
as an introduction to solar energy at Rutland Regional," President
Thomas Huebner said. "We want to support the Solar Capital
effort and gain some experience with solar energy ourselves."
"The Solar Center at Rutland Regional, as the project will be
known, will be a visible, productive symbol of the hospital's
commitment to economic development and the community at large,"
said Mary Powell, GMP's president and CEO. "We expect the
center, which will include a 150-kilowatt solar farm and
educational information on renewable energy, will become a
destination for local schoolchildren and adults."
"The Solar Center at Rutland Regional is a big step toward
fulfilling our commitment to make Rutland the center of solar
development in Vermont and New England," said Steve Costello, GMP's
vice president for generation and energy innovation. "We're
building momentum with each project, and are optimistic that
several other projects will be announced in the next few
The solar center will be built on Rutland Regional property
surrounding two stormwater retention ponds just south of Allen
Street, adjacent to the hospital's walking path. "There is little
potential for other uses of that corner of the property, so we see
this as a great way to put it into productive use," said Mary
Nemeth, Rutland Regional's vice president for corporate support
GMP, which will own and maintain the solar center, will put it
out to bid this month. Under a 25-year lease agreement with
Rutland Regional, GMP will credit the hospital for 10 percent of
the project's output. The remaining energy will go onto the local
electric grid and will be consumed by local GMP customers.
"This is a low-risk way for Rutland Regional to gather a lot of
first-hand knowledge about solar while helping move the Solar
Capital initiative forward," Costello said. "We're hopeful that the
Rutland Regional Solar Center agreement, which is modeled after the
Stafford Hill agreement with the City of Rutland, will serve as a
model for others interested in developing solar in a collaborative
The solar center will be GMP's third in the city of Rutland,
part of the company's promise to make Rutland the Solar Capital of
New England, with the highest solar reliance per capita of any city
in the region.
Rutland panel approves GMP Energy Innovation Center
The Rutland Architectural Review Board on Wednesday, Feb 20,
approved the design of Green Mountain Power's planned Energy
Innovation Center, an art deco motif that honors the building's
past even as it symbolizes a new chapter in downtown Rutland.
"The EIC will be a working example of energy innovation," GMP
President and CEO Mary Powell said. "Through a mix of
recycled and new materials and features, we'll blend the two
structures that made up the Eastman Building into a
customer-focused space where Vermonters can learn about generation,
efficiency, environmental effects of energy decisions, new
technologies and new customer programs."
The EIC will be the focal point of GMP renewable energy
development, including efforts to make Rutland the solar capital of
New England, with the highest reliance on solar per capita of any
city in the region.
The smaller building, a wood-framed structure, combined with a
circa 1925 retail store that has sat empty and has become
increasingly dilapidated for a decade, will house GMP employees and
staff from Efficiency Vermont and Neighborworks of Western Vt.,
classroom/conference space, and public exhibits focused on energy
and the environment. While a significant improvement to the largest
empty space in downtown Rutland, the project is also a key
component of GMP plans to achieve millions of dollars of customer
savings by reducing the company's overall square footage.
Steve Costello, GMP's vice president for generation and energy
innovation, said the plans include restoration of many of the main
building's original features, including an historic metal ceiling,
terra cotta tiled facade, and stainless steel trim on windows and
"The annex, which is in significant decay, will receive a
completely new face, including key attributes of the larger
building's art deco style," Costello said. "We're also using
an art deco sign to visually connect the two buildings."
The design is by Ralph Nimtz of NBF Architects of Rutland.
The project is being managed by Russell Construction Services of
Rutland, which is nearing completion of selective interior
demolition work in anticipation of construction starting in March.
The project, scheduled for completion in October, includes
triple-glazed fiberglass windows, a white, reflective membrane roof
with a walkway for public view of a 14-kilowatt solar array, LED
and extensive natural lighting, an energy-efficient revolving door,
R60 ceiling and R30 wall insulation, and an open work environment
with exposed mechanical and electrical systems.
The building is expected to receive Leadership in Energy and
Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the U.S. Green
Building Council. "The project has received a lot of LEED points
for rehabbing a deteriorated structure, recycling building
materials and use of high-efficiency systems, which will make it
cheaper and cleaner to operate," Nimtz said.
Mayor Chris Louras, who led a city panel that provided input on
site selection, praised the design. "I see the EIC as a tremendous
addition to downtown Rutland," Louras said. "We're replacing
one of the most troubling properties in the entire city with what I
know will be one of the most exciting additions to Rutland in a