WCAX: Polluted Rutland property to become solar farm

Aug 02, 2012 No Comments by

Reposted from WCAX.

 

RUTLAND, Vt. –

A brownfield in a blighted, broken area of Rutland, once contaminated by coal and tar deposits, is about to be reborn.

“I would probably say 80 percent of the property will be filled with panels,” said Steve Costello of Green Mountain Power.

 

The property has been owned by CVPS– now GMP– for over 80 years.

 

“Over the years we’ve used it for training for linemen and for storage and for other operations,” Costello said.

 

But now it’s set to become a solar farm, pumping a possible 150 kilowatts of power into the city each day. The utility is not sure how much the project will cost, but it’s in the hundreds of thousands.

 

“We expect that we will get quite a few bids, so where we end up on price, but we’re hoping it will be among the lower-cost installations in the state,” Costello said.

 

But the property, located at the end of Cleveland Ave, has seen a recent spike in crime. Police have responded 126 times to the neighborhood since the start of the year.

 

“We’re not really concerned about that,” Costello said. “A typical facility like this will have a high fence around it to protect the facility.”

 

And Rutland Mayor Christopher Louras, who’s recently taken to battling blighted properties, isn’t worried either.

 

“In fact it could go a long way toward turning that neighborhood around,” Louras said.

 

Rutland ratepayers won’t see a change in their bills, but Louras says it’s about a brighter future for the city.

 

“Our long-term goal is to deal with neighborhood stabilization, drug-related crime issues in those neighborhoods, and this is part of the bigger picture,” Louras said.

 

Costello admits the project is small. It will only produce enough power for about 150 homes in the city. But he says it’s just the first of many projects still to come to help GMP keep its promise to make Rutland the solar capital of Vermont.

 

“It’s going to take a lot of different types of solar. It’s going to take utility projects. It’s going to take in depth developers and homeowners to get to these types of goals that we’re talking about,” Costello said.

 

“It defines Rutland City as a center for innovation, for thinking about the future, doing things differently and it dovetails with the sustainable agriculture piece very well in redefining our economic future,” Louras said.

 

A possible diamond in an otherwise rough Rutland block.

 

Costello says the bidding will be open for about two weeks and he hopes to have the project underway by October.

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