- Retail electricity supplier Green Mountain Power (GMP) has begun construction on the $10 million, 2 megawatt Stafford Hill Solar Farm which, combined with its 4 megawatt battery storage system, will allow the project to disconnect from the local distribution system in an emergency and power an emergency response shelter at the local high school in a microgrid configuration.
- Stafford Hill, which can power up to 2,000 homes under ideal sun and will serve an average of 365 homes annually, is expected to go online by mid-December.
- The Stafford Hill project region of Vermont was badly hit by 2011’s Hurricane Irene, making the emergency response function especially important to local officials that are newly concerned with resiliency and safety. The brownfield project's location on a previous landfill site also makes it appealing to local environmentalists.
The Stafford Hill groundbreaking was attended by Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, who is touring solar generation facilities in Vermont to capitalize on the popularity of renewable energy.
Rutland City, where GMP is building the Stafford Hill project, hosts other solar projects as part of GMP’s Energy City of the Future program. Rutland City is also the location of GMP’s Energy Home of the Future, an energy efficient, solar-powered private residence with energy management systems and LED lighting.
Earlier this year, GMP built a 150 kilowatt community solar array in the same general area for NRG Energy, its corporate parent, with 50 local retail electricity customers as subscribers.