Solar Array to Help Support Sheriff's DepartmentBENNINGTON - The Bennington County Sheriff's Department is using a parcel of the 6.4 acres surrounding the department headquarters building to help control expenses for years to come.
Sheriff Chad Schmidt said this week that an agreement with Green Lantern Group of Waterbury to mount a 150 kilowatt solar array on the site will provide discounted power and land lease income for at least the next 20 years. The agreement also allows for three five-year contract extensions at the option of the developer.
The lease agreement will provide up to $95,500 over the life of the contract for the department, Schmidt said, as well as a discount on the department's electricity bill through Green Mountain Power.
He said the construction project, due to begin soon, also will provide employment for Vermont contractors, and tax revenue will be realized from the development. "There will be a public benefit," Schmidt said.
Luke Shullenberger, the principal founder and managing partner of Green Lantern, said the firm hopes to have the array in place by mid-March and online soon afterward. He said GMP will have to inspect the completed system and perform work to allow connection to the electricity grid.
He said the firm works primarily with schools and municipalities in providing electricity credits through solar generating facilities. The planned array will also allow credits to the town of Richmond, he said.
The array will include ground-mounted panels eight to nine feet tall in long rows, he said, with the project area about one acre in size. Site work and tree clearing has been in progress, and the installation work is expected to begin in February.
Green Lantern also is planning a 500 kilowatt solar array on a four-acre section of the former Barlow gravel site off Dean Road in North Pownal. That project could proceed to the construction stage next month, Shullenberger said.
Green Lantern is a Vermonter-owned firm, which formed in 2010. The company says it now has 55 projects either in operation or under construction and approximately 20 in the permitting stages.
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