On March 18, 2019, Long View Forest, Inc. and Encore Renewable Energy announced the commissioning of a 745 kilowatt-peak (kWp) community solar array on three acres at the new Long View headquarters and woodyard on Ferry Road in Hartland, Vermont.
The project is on a 28-acre remediated brownfield property formerly used as a saw mill and lumber treatment facility. Brownfields, because of prior environmental contamination, are deemed prime solar sites under Vermont regulations. This is the kind of policy support that can grow restoration economies worldwide.
“Developing solar projects on undervalued real estate is an emerging market for community-scale solar systems because it’s a good deal for everyone involved,” said Chad Farrell, CEO of Encore Renewable Energy. “It turns land that has previously been neglected into an economic driver for the community, supports Vermont’s transition to a clean energy economy, and saves customers money long-term. It’s a win-win-win proposition.”
The project is expected to produce approximately 900,000 kWh per year, enough to power approximately 125 homes annually. Long View, an employee-owned forest management and contracting company, selected Encore as its turnkey partner to develop and construct the project based on Encore’s proven track record of reclaiming undervalued real estate for community-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) systems.
Encore Renewable Energy is a Burlington, Vermont-based leading clean energy development company focusing on commercial-scale solar photovoltaic systems and 21st-century solutions for underutilized property, including landfills, brownfields and rooftops. Founded in 2007 as Encore Redevelopment, Encore specializes in the design, development, financing, permitting, and construction of renewable energy projects. Encore is a certified B-Corporation.
Mascoma Bank, a local leader in sustainability, provided the debt-financing for the project and entered into a long-term agreement to purchase the net metering credits generated by the project. The project first generated electricity in December, and is now generating savings for Mascoma as well as the Montshire Museum of Science located in Norwich, Vermont.
“As a 120 year-old mutually owned bank and a Certified B Corporation®, Mascoma Bank is committed to being a force for positive change,” said Clay Adams, President, Mascoma Bank. “We feel that with this project, right here in our backyard, we can both inspire other funders to consider investing in renewable energy and show energy consumers how they can close the loop and save money by committing to purchase energy from renewable sources. It’s been a fantastic experience to work with both Encore Renewable Energy and Long View Forest and we look forward to continued partnerships with both companies.”
Together, Mascoma and the Montshire Museum of Science will realize approximately $700,000 of savings on their electricity bills over the 25-year term of the agreement.
The Renewable Energy Certificates produced by the project will be conveyed to Green Mountain Power to help meet Vermont’s Renewable Energy Standard (RES) to produce 75% of the state’s electric generation with renewables by 2032.
“The solar array was a critical part of Long View’s plan to redevelop the brownfield site as a ‘forestry business park,’” said Jack Bell, General Manager of Long View. “The Ferry Road site is a prime location for our headquarters, log merchandizing yard, and other businesses that support jobs and sustainable forestry in the Upper Valley and beyond. We’re excited to continue our work to redevelop the Ferry Road site and generate renewable power.”
Long View Forest is a forest management and contracting business with operations in the Connecticut River valley that extend from the Upper Valley in Vermont and New Hampshire south to the Pioneer Valley in Massachusetts. Founded in 1999 by Jim Hourdequin, Jack Bell, and Russell Barnes, the employee-owned company is recognized as a leader in forest management, cut-to-length timber harvesting, and invasive plant management. The company employs approximately thirty people, operates seven timber harvesting crews, and manages approximately 35,000 acres of forestland in the region.
Photo of Ferry Road array courtesy of Encore.