PLAINFIELD, Vt. – September 25, 2015 – Goddard College and groSolar jointly announced today that groSolar is developing a solar project to provide power to the Vermont school. The 500-kilowatt project is expected to offset about 68 percent of the College’s total electricity load with solar energy.
“I am pleased to take this significant step with groSolar to help Goddard move toward its goal of carbon neutrality,” Goddard President Robert P. Kenny said. “The College explored many options that would accomplish this power offset and settled on this arrangement with groSolar as the best of those available to us. We are happy to enter into this partnership and see it as the culmination of our collaborative efforts.”
“As a Vermont company, we’re very excited to partner with a venerable Vermont institution like Goddard College,” said Rod Viens, Executive VP at groSolar. “This project is part of our portfolio here that’s helping bring jobs, investment and clean, reliable energy to Vermont.”
The groSolar partnership is part of the College’s overall effort to reduce its carbon footprint. In January, the College announced that it had moved its endowment funds out of fossil fuel investments and into fossil fuel free accounts at Trillium Asset Management in Boston. The College has also received a permit for a woodchip heating system on its Plainfield campus. The system will reduce carbon emissions from burning oil by 504 tons.
In this new partnership, Goddard College will benefit from a community solar arrangement provided by groSolar. The electricity generated by the off-site solar panels will go into the Green Mountain Power grid, and Green Mountain Power will issue a credit of 300,000 kilowatt hours to the College. The College’s Sustainability Team, which includes faculty and administrators, chose community solar rather than a large, on-site solar panel array because the college does not have enough room on its campus for all the panels it would need.
The solar credit calculation is based on the amount of kilowatts fed into the system times a rate set by state statute as 19 cents per kilowatt hour for the next 10 years. The approximate net benefit to Goddard will be $85,500 over 10 years. In addition, Goddard is allowed to keep its renewable energy credits (RECs), which amounts to an offset of its carbon footprint by 54 tons of CO2/year.
groSolar is an industry-leading large commercial- and utility-scale solar development, engineering, procurement, and construction firm with more than 17 years of experience. Since inception, the company has built more than 2,000 solar projects for a wide variety of customers, including government, commercial, industrial and utility. groSolar has particular expertise in building projects on top of environmentally sensitive sites such as brownfields and landfills. In addition to solar development and construction services, groSolar also offers Operations and Management (O&M).
ABOUT GODDARD COLLEGE
Initially founded in 1863 as the Goddard Seminary in Barre, Vt., Goddard College moved to its current Plainfield campus and was chartered in 1938 by founding President Royce “Tim” Pitkin. In 1963, Goddard became the first U.S. college to offer low-residency adult degree programs. Goddard now offers accredited MA, MFA, BA and BFA degree programs from the main campus in Plainfield, Vermont and sites in Seattle and Port Townsend, Washington. The low-residency education model offers the best of on-campus and distance education, with experienced faculty advisors, rigorous on-campus residencies, and the freedom to study from anywhere.