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US diocese acquires solar energy farm

Posted on: January 11, 2017 3:55 PM
The 35-tracker, 147-kilowatt solar array is expected to produce slightly more energy than is consumed on the Rock Point property in Burlington, Vermont.
Photo Credit: Diocese of Vermont / ENS

[ACNS] The diocese of Vermont in the US-based Episcopal Church has acquired a $1 million (USD, approximately £825,763 GBP) solar array farm at its headquarters in Rock Point, Burlington. The 35-tracker 147 kW solar away was installed five years ago by AllEarth Renewables and was acquired by the diocese for $269,700.

It will provide more-than-enough energy to power the diocese’s 146-acre facility at Rock Point, which in addition to the diocesan offices, includes the Rock Point School, the Bishop Booth Conference Centre, and the bishop’s house. Additional electricity generated by the farm will provide an annual estimated income of $40,000.

The funds used to purchase the solar farm came from early contributions to the Rock Point Partnership Campaign, topped up with a loan from the Bishop Butterfield Loan Fund. Once the loan is paid off, the income from the farm’s excess electricity will be used to support the diocese’s organisations based at Rock Point.

The Bishop of Vermont, Thomas C Ely, said that the diocese’s long term goal was to purchase, rather than lease, the facility when it was built five years ago. “We are glad to have achieved that goal on the fifth anniversary of the installation,” he said.

“Care for the environment is an important aspect of our message in the Jesus Movement. The Episcopal Church in Vermont remains committed to environmental stewardship not only in Rock Point but also throughout the wider community,” Bishop Thomas said.