Sterling College thanked the Board of Commissioners of the Hardwick Electric Department for voting to raise its net metering cap by 2%, allowing 6% of peak load coming from net metered sources, instead of the 4% it had previously allowed.

Net metering is a form of small-scale, grid-connected, renewable electricity production, used most commonly for solar projects. Vermont’s state-mandated minimum for net metering projects is currently 4% of peak load; however, as this publication was readying for press, a bill was under consideration to raise the net metering cap to 15%.

“Hardwick Electric is proving itself to be a leader for the future of local, renewable energy in Vermont,” President Matthew Derr said. “By raising the net metering cap by 2%, the utility is in line with the Hardwick Town Plan to purchase locally produced power first. Hardwick is modeling how other Vermont communities can work to meet the state’s goal of using 90% renewable energy by 2050.”

The 6% net metering cap means that Sterling College can go forward with permitting for its installation of ten Vermont-manufactured AllSun Trackers on campus. Sterling already has two solar trackers on campus (pictured below), as well as fixed solar panels on its barn. The addition of ten more solar trackers will enable Sterling College to get over 80% of its electricity from solar power.

“This installation is part of Sterling College’s overall movement toward conservation,” said Ned Houston, Distinguished Professor at Sterling College. “We’re adding the solar trackers, but we’re also making efforts such as changing to more energy efficient lightbulbs, monitoring the energy use in our buildings, and trying to lower our overall energy consumption.”

“Sterling College is walking the walk in its environmental leadership,” David Blittersdorf, president and CEO of AllEarth Renewables, the manufacturers of the AllSun solar trackers used on campus, said. “We are very pleased to be partnering with Sterling College as they put the benefits of advanced solar technology front and center at one of the leading environmental colleges in the country.”

“Having a campus that uses all solar energy for its electricity needs builds on our endowment’s divestment from fossil fuel extractors,” said Derr. “We continually find ways to live our educational mission and ensure that our campus is a living system that supports environmental stewards.” •

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