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Encore Renewable Energy energizes 2.1-MW community solar project at former auto salvage yard

Written by: Leonard Parker | Solar News | 11th September

Encore Renewable Energy and VPPSA announced the commissioning of a new 2.1-MW community solar array located at a former auto salvage yard. The project was developed as part of a partnership between Encore Renewable Energy and VPPSA to develop, finance and construct approximately 10 MW of solar capacity on behalf of VPPSA’s municipal utility members.

The project is expected to produce approximately 3,200,000 kilowatt-hours per year, enough to power approximately 375 homes annually. The landowners will remain on the land that has been in their family for generations, as the operational solar project affords both an annual lease payment as well as the means to complete the environmental remediation required to address the regulatory approval for operation of a solar array on the former auto salvage facility which served the local community for decades.

“It’s always exciting to see a solar project like this one that can breathe new life into a property that offers little to no remaining benefit to the community in its current state,” said Chad Farrell, founder and CEO of Encore Renewable Energy. “Our team leveraged our collective expertise, experience and determination to tackle the very real challenges of developing a solar array on this type of brownfield property and delivering a project that is a true benefit to the local community.”

This is the third solar array to be energized and the second Standard Offer project under the VPPSA and Encore Renewable Energy public-private partnership. All generation from Salvage Yard solar will be sold to Vermont electric utilities that are not already 100% renewable. VPPSA and Encore have arranged to build a 10 MW solar portfolio together with projects sited across multiple VPPSA member utility territories. Under the partnership, Encore performs all design, development, financing and construction of solar projects. VPPSA manages the resulting electric generation and maximizes its value for its member utilities’ communities.

“The Salvage Yard project is yet another example of municipal utilities investing in their communities in ways that foster affordability and environmental stewardship,” said VPPSA General Manager Ken Nolan. “VPPSA is committed to maintaining affordable, reliable and sustainable electric supply for Vermont communities and is excited to promote projects that meet those goals while supporting local families.”

Consistent with Encore’s promise at the end of 2020, the ground beneath the solar array is being planted with pollinator-friendly ground cover to support vital habitat for bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, moths and other insects critical to future food security. In addition, pollinator-friendly ground cover increases carbon sequestration, improves soil quality, reduces stormwater runoff, and channels stormwater back into underlying aquifers, while addressing the social importance of supporting healthy food systems.

News item from Encore Renewable Energy