DOE Regional Test Center

Sheep from Sunset Farm graze at the UVAC PV array

Project Summary

The Vermont Regional Test Center (RTC) is situated in the town of Williston, Vermont (outside of Burlington), adjacent to IBM’s semiconductor facility. Located on seven acres of flat, open land, the VT RTC adds a unique climate to the RTC portfolio, providing validation studies for photovoltaic (PV) components and systems in a northern location, where harsh winters, abrupt variability in weather, and moderate to high precipitation prevail. The VT RTC reflects a collaborative effort between Sandia National Laboratories, IBM, and Green Mountain Power.

Norwich Solar Technologies Scope

The site was used to test whether the Norwich Solar Technologies EZ-PV MetaModule™ approach greatly improved installation efficiency while minimizing site disruption. According to Sandia’s report,

In December 2015, Sandia National Laboratories documented the installation of a 5.25 kW rooftop EZ-PV system at the Vermont Regional Test Center. Installed by an experienced Norwich Technologies’ team, the system was mounted and fully functional (i.e., generating electricity to the grid) in two hours two minutes and 15 seconds. This innovative approach to PV installation appears to be a viable approach to both increasing efficiency and to controlling and reducing the soft costs of installed solar.

doe soft cost solar PV chart

Figure 1. Breakdown of soft costs for a typical grid-tied residential rooftop PV system. (Source: US DOE Soft Costs 101: http://energy.gov/eere/articles/soft-costs-101-key-achieving-cheaper-solar-energy)

Reducing the soft costs, or non-hardware costs, of installed solar is key to expanding solar markets across the United States and a core objective of the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative. Although soft costs have declined in recent years, they are still significant, accounting for as much as 64 percent of the cost of a new residential photovoltaic (PV) system. Installation labor alone approximates 11 percent of total soft costs or 17 percent of total installed system costs (Figure 1.)

Production Statistics

The solar installation will provide approximately 1,000,000 kWh each year, equivalent to carbon emissions from burning 7,400,000 lbs. of coal, 20,000 barrels of oil, or 1 million gallons of gasoline.

Pirouette Farm in Norwich, VT
2018-08-15T14:30:20+00:00