The system installed by Norwich Solar Technologies is located at the Goodyear Site in Windsor, VT located at 28 River Street. The solar facility consists of [752.4 kW-DC/500 kW-AC] capacity. The solar panels are ballast mounted on RBI racking and electrical systems installed approximately 6′ above the ground with all electrical equipment installed above the flood plain at a height determined by insurance company requirements. The array is interconnected with the Green Mountain Power electrical grid.
Environmental cleanup work was required to remove asbestos on the cement slab that was once the Goodyear plant, prior to the installation of the solar array.
The property was cleaned up by Crown Point Excavation, of Springfield, Vt., including removal of debris from when the Goodyear building demolition.
Local businessman Terry McDonnell, owner of Artisans Park on Route 5 in Windsor, leased the land from the Windsor Improvement Corp. (WIC) for the solar project. WIC partnered with the Springfield Regional Development Corp. to help manage it.
The solar project represents a strong collaboration among several local groups, which also includes the Southern Windsor County Regional Planning Commission (SWCRPC).
SWCRPC’s Tom Kennedy explains the cleanup’s funding and financing.
He said federal money from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Brownfields Program was used to complete an assessment of the property several years ago. From there, a corrective action plan explored possible uses for the parcel, which are limited because it is in the Connecticut River floodplain.
The idea for a solar array was key to accessing more Brownfields money for the cleanup, Kennedy said.
“That was a great project because it was economic development-related, so we could use our funds to do remediation,” Kennedy said.
The cleanup cost of $350,000 was funded through a grant of $150,000 and a $200,000 loan to WIC, Kennedy said.
He said another important player in the project is Harpoon Brewery in the Artisan Park.
“They are the ‘off-taker’ of the electricity being produced,” said McDonnell, meaning the brewery buys the electricity to run its operation.
McDonnell and others are celebrating the efforts to repurpose a property that sat vacant far longer than anyone expected after Goodyear closed.
“My feeling is nothing can happen unless everyone chips in and helps in different ways,” McDonnell said. “It is a great project. We have cleaned up a site and installed renewable energy.”