Fifth Vermont Prison Goes Green With Solar Array

SPRINGFIELD, Vt. — Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin recently announced the completion of a 500-kilowatt solar net metering project at the Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield. This project marks the fifth of seven state correctional facilities that will eventually be powered by solar energy.

The project is part of an initiative Gov. Shumlin first announced in September 2013 which will deploy 5 megawatts of solar power to state correctional facilities. These efforts will increase the state’s use of renewable energy while also saving taxpayers on state energy costs, according to a statement by governor’s office.

“This is a perfect example of how we do renewable energy in Vermont,” Gov. Shumlin said in a statement. “Local solar that powers our public buildings all while creating and supporting local jobs. I’m so proud of the state for leading by example.”

The Southern State Correctional Facility project is using solar trackers made by AllEarth Renewables of Williston, Vt., which feature local components. These include electrical boards manufactured by PCM Image-Tek of Springfield, located less than three miles from the project site.

"As a local manufacturer, it’s great to have work within Vermont’s growing solar industry and even more rewarding to see the results of our work powering a project just down the road. We see a bright future in Vermont’s solar sector," said PCM-ImageTek President Mike Hathaway in a statement.

"We are pleased to continue making progress on this initiative and to be helping the state save taxpayer money, create good local jobs, and keep electric costs down while producing Vermont-made solar energy," added Andrew Savage, chief strategy officer at AllEarth Renewables, in a statement. "With manufacturing and supply partners for our locally made tracker around the state like PCM Image-Tek, projects like this show first-hand the role of the Vermont solar industry creating jobs and adding value to the state."

The solar initiative is project to save taxpayers upwards of $2.5 million in energy costs over the next 20 years with no state investment, while producing more than 7 million kilowatt hours per year of clean solar electricity. Additional projects have already been completed at state correctional facilities in St. Johnsbury, St. Albans and Windsor. These marked were the first projects to go online in the largest public solar initiative in the state’s history.