Starksboro aims to expand solar knowledge

STARKSBORO — The Vermont Clean Energy Action Network, in conjunction with the Vermont Natural Resources Council, recently awarded the Starksboro Town Energy Committee a $1,600 grant to improve renewable energy education resources and create websites for the 19 solar trackers powering Robinson Elementary School and the six trackers feeding the town offices.
Caleb Elder — who works for AllEarth Renewables, the company that leased the solar trackers to the school and town — will head this project as the efficiency coordinator of the town’s solar development.
“Really, the grant is to bring the exciting energy of Starksboro’s solar trackers to the forefront and make them accessible to anybody who wants to know more,” said Elder.
Although the websites likely won’t launch until fall, Elder is hoping to bring solar education into the classroom by the end of this school year.
“I’m talking to (Robinson Elementary) Principal Dan Noel about possibly bringing some energy presentations into the curriculum maybe even this spring,” said Elder. “But if not this spring, certainly first thing in the fall.”
The websites will display daily, monthly and yearly energy production data, which can currently be found online at www.allearthrenewables.com/energy-production-report under site numbers 246 (for Robinson Elementary) and 247 (for the town offices).
Additionally, the forthcoming websites will highlight consumption.
“We’re going to have an initiative to track consumption at the school, and we’ll have an efficiency challenge to bring it down,” said Elder.
The websites will also try to express energy data in ways that are more pertinent to people’s daily lives, such as how many gallons of fuel can be saved throughout the course of one day’s solar production.
“That’ll be where it starts,” said Elder. “Then, I think it will be used as a bulletin board for energy events town-wide.”
Reporter Andrew Stein is at [email protected]

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