Danforth Pewter and Gardener’s Supply Company, a nationally known businesses based in Vermont, has partnered on a solar system for emission-free power. Danforth Pewter, a family business producing fine pewter work, is located in Middlebury Middlebury with stores in Burlington, Woodstock and Waterbury. Gardener’s Supply, an employee-owned business providing environmentally friendly gardening products, has its headquarters in Burlington. They have cooperated on a new solar array on the Pulling Farm in Addison.
The 144 kilowatt (kW) system consists of SunPower 345-watt photovoltaic (PV) panels mounted on dual axis AllSun Trackers supplied by AllEarth Renewables of Williston, Vermont. The tracking mounts follow the sun, so the panels get greatest exposure as the sun moves across the sky. This means that the panels will provide optimal performance for the location where they are installed.
Because the system is optimized, it should produce 36% more energy than fixed-tilt PVs mounted on racks. A test of the tracking system got 1660 kWh of electricity per kW of PV panels, over the course of a year.
The electricity from the system is supplied through a power purchase agreement with SolarSense, LLC. The system operates through Green Mountain Power’s net metering program, so Danforth Pewter and Gardener’s Supply will be getting electricity at below market rates through the contract with SolarSense. SolarSense is also undertaking to support a child in the Vermont Make-A-Wish Foundation as part of their “Watts for Wishes” charity program.
Fred and Judi Danforth, owners of Danforth Pewter. Photo courtesy of Anjanette Lemak, Designer at Danforth Pewter.
Chris Fraga, founder and CEO of SolarSense, LLC, commented on the project, “This is a win through and through for Vermont and the stakeholders in the project.” He stressed the fact that a number of suppliers and service partners were Vermont companies. In addition, the Vermont Economic Development Authority provided debt financing, and Green Mountain Power provided interconnects as part of their work to make Vermont a leader in Sustainable Energy. He added, “This project epitomizes our mission of socially conscious energy development, and we could not be more honored to be part of this initiative.”