Project Start Date: April 20, 2023
JANUARY 2023 – PROJECT REACHED CPG STATUS
Norwich Solar is pleased to announce receiving a Certificate of Public Good (CPG) from the Vermont Public Utility Commission for a 500 kW AC solar array in Barnet, VT. The ground-mounted system will generate enough renewable clean energy to power approximately 135 homes per year, and offset the carbon emission equivalent of almost 150 cars per year.
Milarepa Center, off Route 5 in Barnet will host the array. The Milarepa Center is a Buddhist retreat named for an 11th century Tibetan yogi famed for attaining enlightenment in a single lifetime. The center was founded in 1981 by students of Lama Thubten Yeshe and of Lama Zopa Rinpoche. Barnet Selectboard, Planning Commission and the Northeast Vermont Development Association, the regional planning commission all granted “preferred siting” for the location.
Martha Staskus, Chief Development Officer for Norwich Solar said, “ We’re looking forward to moving this project forward in collaboration with the Milarepa Center. They’ve been an enthusiastic supporter from the start and we’re glad to be seen as a trusted partner.”
Dawn Holtz is the Director of the Milarepa Center. She recognized the potential for solar to be a good use of the open field adjacent to the existing transmission corridor on the property. This solar project offers a solution that aligns with the Center’s commitment to sustainability.
Holz stated, “As a donation-based non-profit, hosting the solar array will help the Center meet its financial goals for the next 25 years, and we’ll continue to have meadows for our use.” She also adds that “the Center’s unanimous approval by its board members exemplifies the Buddhist practice of ‘bodhichitta’ because of the good will that will spread through renewable solar energy generation for the community.”
The net metering credits generated from community solar arrays are allocated to a variety of Vermont customers. This project has allocated a mix of small businesses, mostly agricultural producers, through Norwich Solar’s Small Business Community Solar Alliance. The project has several more milestones to complete before physical work is expected to begin next spring, including permitting, final design and procurement.
Ground-breaking practices offered by Geshe Tenley in preparation for the solar array project
On Thursday April 20, a couple of us headed to the Barnet location to participate in a very special Buddhist Ceremony that took place at Milarepa Center before the start of the project. The Center determined that day was ideal for the ceremony and that the 24th would be an auspicious day to begin the actual work.
Suzanne and Diana drove the company EV to the site and were warmly greeted by the Milarepa Center director Dawn Holtz. We brought flowers and a large tray of cookies for offerings. The Norwich team and other Milarepa guest were also were joined by Karthryn from Greenbacker who will be the owners of the completed array.
Everyone was invited to participate in the prayers and offerings to ask permission of the land and beings to allow the project to be successful. Geshe Tenley of Kurukulla Center performed special ground-breaking prayers and practices on the land, as advised by Lama Zopa Rinpoche, in preparation for the start of the construction of the new solar array project! We all sat in prayer and meditation in the farmhouse as Geshe Tenley read the prayers in Tibetan. Next we went outside to more prayers around a smokey fire to bring the message to all the surrounding beings. We each added an offering to the fire. For the last step we gathered in the field for a final prayer a the solar site and left more cookies as an offering to land and its inhabitants, and to take some group photos of course!