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SOLAR PROJECTS UNDERWAY IN THE SLATE VALLEY
SOLAR PROJECTS UNDERWAY IN THE SLATE VALLEY
Slate Valley
Wednesday, September 18, 2019
Projects to Provide Financial Benefits and Educational Opportunities  

Slate Valley Unified Union School District (SVUUSD) is partnering with MHG Solar on two local solar projects – one in Pawlet and another in Poultney. The Pawlet project is nearing completion, while construction on the Poultney project is anticipated to begin within the next two months. Both projects will provide SVUUSD with financial benefits and educational opportunities. 

“Our idea has been that we can generate clean electricity in Vermont, while repurposing industrial lands,” said Pete Giese, Co-Founder of MHG Solar. “In this way, we not only help Vermont advance toward its ambitious renewable energy goals, but we also help preserve agricultural and scenic lands, create a new source of revenue for land owners, generate property taxes for communities, and tie these projects to the community.” 

In partnership with MHG, Slate Valley is able to generate electrical cost savings. 

“Participation in these two unique solar projects not only provides a tie to the community and creatively reuses industrial lands, but it also generates meaningful savings for the schools,” said Cheryl Scarzello, Director of Finance at SVUUSD. “In total, the district expects to save more than $15,000 per year and more than $450,000 in electricity costs over the term of the solar projects.”  

In addition to cost savings, the district will have access to STEM-based (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) curriculum opportunities. 

“Our partnership with MHG Solar will provide moments to purposefully combine science, technology, engineering and mathematics, in and outside of classrooms with current issues,” said Casey O’Meara, Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment at SVUUSD. “It will further our district’s vision for teaching and learning.” 

MHG Solar leases land from local slate companies and sites their projects on top of slate tailings piles. In most cases, they strategically locate projects adjacent to ongoing operations. This allows MHG to revitalize the tailings piles, while operators continue running their core business.  

“We will have an opportunity to align curriculum and instructional practices with student goals,” said O’Meara. “This project will provide a system for us to apply personalized, experiential learning in our schools.”  

In total, the district’s portion of these projects will be the equivalent of ~1,200,000 kWH of clean electricity each year – roughly the annual electrical consumption of 150-170 Vermont homes each year.

“We are excited about the opportunity to partner with MHG Solar as it has environmental, financial, and most importantly, educational benefits for our students within the district,” said Brooke Olsen-Farrell, Superintendent at SVUUSD. “It appears to be a win-win for everyone involved.”