Middlebury College closes in on renewable energy goal with solar installation – pv magazine USA

The installation will provide the college with approximately 30% of its total electricity consumption and, when completed, will bring Middlebury 100% renewable electricity.

October 13, 2021

Groundbreaking ceremony for Middlebury College’s new solar system.

Pictured: Middlebury College, Photo by Balfour Studios

Middlebury College in Vermont has broken ground on a piece of land in the city of Middlebury that will soon be building a new 5 MW solar project that will provide the college with about 30% of its total electricity consumption.

The project is being developed by Encore Renewable Energy and construction is scheduled to begin in 2022 on 30 acres owned by the college about two miles from campus. The project is expected to include around 29,000 modules mounted on single-axis trackers.

The facility, which will buy 100% of its annual production from Middlebury, is a big step towards the school reaching its Energy2028 initiative which calls for the college to use 100% renewable energy by 2028.

The college covers the other 70% of its electricity needs with electricity from its biomass power plant, other local solar energy production facilities, and electricity from Green Mountain Power’s currently carbon-free grid, with 68% of production coming from renewable sources. on the way to being 100 percent renewable by 2030.

Local flocks of sheep will take care of the vegetation management on the site from the start, while pollination-friendly plants and shrubs will be planted on the side to provide habitat for bees, butterflies and other insects and to increase the local population vital for plant production. To meet state requirements for grassland birds, the college will use up to 95 acres of its land as habitat for bobolinks and other grassland birds.

The new solar array will complement eight more Middlebury College solar arrays, both on and off campus, which are currently just over 1 MW.

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