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New College Solar Array Aims to Educate Students and Farmers About Alternative Energy

Sally McCay, UVM Photo

A new solar installation at the University of Vermont is targeting not only powering part of the campus, but enhancing Vermont’s statewide agriculture sector.

134 solar panels were installed on the roof of the University of Vermont’s research farm’s equine center this summer. The panels provide enough energy to power 8-and-a half percent of the research farm’s electricity.  Funds for the panels came from the college’s Clean Energy Fund,  a student supported account that charges each student a 10-dollar fee each semester.  Students then determine what new clean energy projects will be created on the campus. UVM College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Dean Tom Vogelmann says the goal is to test and showcase alternative energy on farms, which is part of the mission of the land grant college.

Dean Vogelmann says this is the first solar array in northern VT on an equine facility and plans are that it will also become a learning resource for Vermont farmers.

Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets Secretary Chuck Ross says this new array allows farmers to see that solar power can work.

Secretary Ross says the agricultural community is investing more resources in alternative and renewable energy projects.

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture is creating an ag energy position that will help farmers with energy needs, opportunities  and development of alternative energy resources.