New Solar Array Will Be Vermont's Biggest Ever

Published On
May 1, 2017

The success of renewable power is often measured by the latest, biggest and best. Another record is broken. A new facility is the biggest ever. And so on. In Vermont, regulators added to the list of outsized accomplishments when they approved what will be the biggest ever solar array to be constructed in the Green State.

The Coolidge Solar Project will be four times larger than the next biggest solar installation in Vermont. Located in the communities of Ludlow and Cavendish, it will have a capacity of 20 megawatts (MW). The next biggest facility has a capacity of 5 MW. The application for the installation dates back to 2015. It was approved by the Vermont Public Service Board in March of this year.

The proposal did not come without controversy. Concerns were raised about its environmental impact and the impact it will have on the local power grid. The size of the project contributed to these concerns. The local utility, Green Mountain Power, had objected to the project because it would conflict with the utility’s long-term plans. Others had noted that power from the project might out compete a local hydro project on the Connecticut River because of the cheaper power it will produce.

In approving the project, the Vermont Public Service Board cited a number of benefits, including its close proximity to local electrical infrastructure, its contribution to regional energy needs, its economic benefits, and the lack of negative environmental impact.

Power from the solar array will be sold out of state in a 20-year purchase agreement with Connecticut utilities. Selling the power out of state helped Green Mountain Power drop its opposition. Also, the Public Service Board liked the idea that after the 20-year agreement expires, power form the panels could help alleviate Vermont’s own growing power needs.

About the Author

Rick Laezman

Freelance Writer

Rick Laezman is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer who has been covering renewable power for more than 10 years. He may be reached at richardlaezman@msn.com.

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