RUTLAND TOWN - Central Vermont Public Service hired Rutland and Royalton companies to build the first major solar project in the state to feed power exclusively onto the grid, rather than use it on-site. CV Solar and Wind, a small Rutland company, and ReKnew Energy Systems Inc. of South Royalton have built the 50-kilowatt solar array along Route 7, just south of the iconic water tower near the CVPS Rutland District Service Center.
"This project will not only provide clean, renewable energy and give CVPS first-hand experience with PV technology, but due to its location just feet from Route 7 in Rutland Town, it will become a tremendous educational tool," CVPS President Bob Young said earlier this year. "CV Solar and Wind and ReKnew were selected as the contractors for their technical skill and experience, and their dedication to making this project a 'classroom' for Vermonters of all ages."
Young said the solar project will play host to visits from thousands of school children each year through collaborative efforts of the three companies. CV Solar and Wind, started by John Blittersdorf in Rutland in 1996, was the overwhelming choice of a panel of CVPS employees involved in the project.
"John Blittersdorf's enthusiasm and expertise were unmatched by any of the companies that bid," CVPS project leader Marty Bowen said in February. "His excitement and his commitment to partner with us to educate Vermonters about renewable energy scored high points in our decision matrix."
Blittserdorf, a Pittsford native who has used solar and wind energy to power his off-the-grid Chittenden home for three decades, said the CV site offered a tremendous opportunity.
"Not only will this project be among the biggest solar installations in the state, it will be a symbol to the hundreds of thousands of people who will drive by it each year on the Route 7 corridor," Blittersdorf said earlier this year. "We are thrilled to be a partner in the project."
Under an agreement between the companies, members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers will complete the high-voltage electrical work, and students from the Stafford Technical Center will get hands-on educational experience installing the panels.
"We wanted to make full use of this project as an educational tool, and continue to build on our strong relationship with the IBEW," Young said in February. "CV Solar's excitement about working with both groups was a big plus. Some bidders said they would do so, but CV Solar's enthusiasm was obvious and genuine."
The solar project includes over 200 solar panels, each 3 by 5 feet wide. The project, along with Glen Station, a CVPS hydro facility across the highway, will include a renewable education program where students will learn about two renewable projects at one site.