Hospital to host solar development
By Gordon Dritschilo
Staff Writer | February 22,2013
Rutland’s latest solar project will be built near the hospital.
Green Mountain Power announced Thursday it plans to build a 150-kilowatt solar array on property off Allen Street. The property, owned by Rutland Regional Medical Center, contains two stormwater retention ponds and is adjacent to the hospital’s walking path.
As part of the lease agreement, GMP will credit the hospital for 10 percent of the array’s output. Steve Costello, GMP’s vice president of generation and energy innovation, said that should come to roughly $4,000 a year.
“That’s an estimate based on what we think production should be,” he said.
Information was not immediately available Thursday on the hospital’s expected electrical output, but Costello said the project would be equivalent to only a fraction of what RRMC uses.
“On a perfect sunny day with nice sky, it could produce enough energy for 150 homes,” he said.
Costello said the project makes use of land that could not be developed in many other ways and would also include an education center intended to become a destination for local schools.
“We’ve had thousands of kids to the (solar) center up on Route 7,” he said. “In Vermont, fourth grade and seventh grade there are curriculums related to electricity. ... There’s a huge appetite.”
GMP will put the project out to bid next month as it works through the state Public Service Board.
“The approval process for a project this size is typically 30 to 45 days,” Costello said. “It’s pretty quick.”
The utility has already built a 150-kilowatt solar array off Cleveland Avenue and purchased a majority share of a similar array off Woodstock Avenue.
GMP is developing plans for a much larger project, with a potential capacity of 2.3 megawatts, on the former city landfill. The landfill project would be the largest solar development in the state.
Costello said more projects are in the works and the city could see more announcements in the coming weeks.