Solar, renewable energy firms bring AllSun Trackers south

Thursday July 21, 2011

BRATTLEBORO -- A Brattleboro-based solar company partnered this week with a northern Vermont renewable energy company in an effort to provide better access to renewable energy solutions.

The partnership between AllEarth Renewables of Williston and Integrated Solar Applications, located on Spring Tree Road in Brattleboro, coincided with a recent statewide solar customer benefit package which ensures net-metered solar installations receive at least 20 cents per kilowatt hour from utilities for the energy produced, and will bring state-of-the-art AllSun Trackers from northern Vermont to Bennington and Windham counties.

Mandy Traineanu, marketing director with Integrated Solar, said the company is "fantastically excited" with the partnership, especially with the new customer benefits from the state.

"First of all, it’s more power for your money. It’s a more powerful product, it’s very compact and also is more affordable. Secondly, the timing is fantastic with these incentives, and that was a lucky happening," she said. "We are very, very excited."

Statewide expansion

AllEarth Renewables spokesman Andrew Savage said the company has manufactured and installed more than 800 solar tracker systems, but mainly in the Chittenden County area.

"The new dealer network is part of our statewide expansion to be able to offer the solar trackers to all communities in Vermont," he said. "We’re excited to be able to offer what has been a really appealing solar option to Vermonters."

The AllSun Trackers use GPS technology to follow the sun throughout the day from ground mounts. The result is a boost of more than 40 percent of solar energy production, ideal for rural regions around the Green Mountain State.

"Think of it like a sunflower -- they follow the sun and essentially position themselves throughout the day to take in the most rays, and they grow faster. It’s a very similar thing with the solar trackers," Savage said. "They wake up in the east where the sun rises and they follow the sun throughout the day right through sunset and, as a result, are able to get over 40 percent more energy than a solar that is just fixed to the south."

Additionally, the trackers can remove snow after a winter storm and flatten themselves automatically if the sensors detect a strong incoming wind.

Integrated Solar President Andrew Cay said the Vermont-made AllSun Tracker is a great addition to the company’s solar installation options.

"Through increasing solar production and the power purchase lease-like financing plan, solar is now even more affordable to homeowners and businesses in our area," he said.

The trackers are capable of producing 4.2 kilowatts. AllEarth said the system is around $32,000 retail, but is more affordable through the power purchase agreement for a low, up-front cost. The agreement also comes with an option to purchase the system after five years at a significantly reduced rate.

"Recognizing that it’s an investment that has a payoff over time, we offer a power purchase agreement, which is an innovative tool used throughout renewable energy markets across the country," said Savage.

"The agreement allows for a homeowner to put a little over $4,000 down for a five-year agreement to buy the power. And then after that five years, a customer can either re-up with the power purchase agreement or they can buy the tracker for about 70 percent off of its retail price, so about $8,000, and they’re going to get $2,200 back from that original $4,000 investment," he said.

AllEarth reports a single tracker will produce an average of 490kWh of energy per month, or enough to provide most of the power needs for a Vermont home.

"We are excited to be working with the experienced team at Integrated Solar and to be able to provide our product to southern Vermont," said David Blittersdorf, president and CEO of AllEarth Renewables.

"Designed and manufactured to produce more energy from the sun, our trackers make solar practical and affordable for homeowners, businesses, and nonprofits."

According to Savage, the company hopes to have the trackers in the Brattleboro area "as fast as folks are interested in putting them in," which should be in about a month.

Receiving a certificate of public good through the permitting process for renewable energy systems usually takes between 30 and 60 days, Savage said, but installation of the system is roughly half a day.

Traineanu said Integrated Solar has assisted customers take charge of their utility costs for since 1978 and has built a solid reputation for bringing high-quality solar products to the marketplace.


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