By Matt Hongoltz-Hetling
Valley News Staff Writer
Friday, October 27, 2017
Hartford, VT — Norwich Solar Technologies has won a competitive bid to build solar arrays on the roofs of three different town-owned buildings in the Hartford, VT Municipal Solar project.
The solar panels, with a combined capacity of 255 kilowatts, will be installed on the Wendell A. Barwood Arena on Highland Avenue, the White River Junction Wastewater Facility on Latham Works Lane and the Public Works building on Airport Road.
Joel Stettenheim, president of the company, said it will have no problem meeting a tight deadline that requires the installation to be completed by February in order to prevent the expiration of state-issued Certificates of Public Good that allow the net metering projects to move forward.
“That’s something that we’re quite comfortable with,” Stettenheim said. “We’re used to working under tight timeframes.”
Though officials from the Hartford School District, which owns the land beneath the WABA building, have expressed concerns about the structure’s ability to support the weight of a solar array, Stettenheim expressed confidence in the concept, which his company helped to vet when the town applied for the state certification last year.
“The indications to date is that everything is fine,” he said. “We are completing a rigorous engineering analysis.”
Norwich Solar Technologies won the bid over three other companies; under the contract, the company will split the revenues that come from the power generated by the arrays. The net effect to the town will be a 35 percent discount on the power that it uses at the site.
The company has gone from fewer than 10 employees in 2014 to more than 30 employees today, growth fueled in part by partnering with school districts in Thetford, Newbury, Bradford and Plainfield. This spring, it also completed construction on a solar array at the Upper Valley Aquatic Center.
It’s unclear how much money the deal will save on the town’s energy bills, but Hartford’s new energy coordinator, Geoff Martin, recently announced that the 750 kilowatt solar array installed at the town-owned landfill site saved $28,500 during 2016, enough to offset the electricity costs of WABA, the wastewater plant, and the Hartford Town Hall on Bridge Street.
Norwich Solar Technologies is based on Bridge Street in White River Junction. An earlier headline to this story misstated where the company is located.
Matt Hongoltz-Hetling can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-727-3211.