WINDSOR, Vt. — Up the hill from the main campus of Cedar Hill Health Care and the Village at Cedar Hill (known collectively as the Cedar Hill Continuing Care Community), a field has filled up with solar panels.
The 501 kW-DC solar photovoltaic (PV) array – which is being built on land belonging to Cedar Hill co-owner Mary Louise Sayles, her daughter Patricia Horn and their families — will produce enough solar power to offset approximately 82 percent of the campus’s electricity usage. The Cedar Hill campus consumes approximately 751,809 kWh of electricity each year. “We started investing in renewables with solar hot water more than a decade ago,” said Patricia Horn, co-owner and executive director. “At that time, we did not have the funds needed to build a system like this. But now with the price of equipment decreasing, and tax credits to help offset the large upfront costs, we are finally able to do this. In the long run, this should help us to lower the energy costs at Cedar Hill and the Village and allow us to play our part in reducing global warming.”
Norwich Solar Technologies of White River Junction (NST) advised Cedar Hill on the project from start to finish, including the permitting, construction and, ultimately, maintenance. “We are delighted to work with Cedar Hill on this project,” said company president Jim Merriam. “We are working hard to make their solar experience easy and profitable and to help this company achieve its sustainability goals.”
This investment is just one piece of the community’s efforts to be environmental stewards. “We are composting our food scraps. We have bought a hybrid car and electric cars for resident and staff transportation. We have the solar hot water. This is another piece of that effort,” Horn said. “Even though it is winter, we love monitoring our electricity production via the sun.”
Family-owned Cedar Hill provides skilled nursing, rehabilitation, assisted living and memory care on its campus, housing more than 100 residents 24-hours a day and employing more than 125 employees. Those services use a lot of electricity.
Cedar Hill’s solar array will offset nearly 13 million pounds of CO2, the equivalent of 26 million miles not driven or 153,000 trees planted. “Improving the standards of care and the quality of life has always been part of our mission and we think adding renewable energy improves the living environment for our residents and for the world,” said Cedar Hill principal owner and founder Mary Louise Sayles.