New solar orchard connects Monitor Barns’ past with present

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New solar orchard connects Monitor Barns’ past with present

Fri, 09/23/2011 - 7:43am -- tim

The Richmond-based Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (VYCC) is now harvesting the sun for energy. Through a new solar orchard, the nationally-renowned VYCC will derive the power for its conservation, education, and agricultural programs from the sun, connecting their two iconic monitor barns in a contemporary way.  
The VYCC will formally commission the solar orchard at its annual meeting and celebration -- Denim & Diamonds ‘ tomorrow, Saturday, September 24th.

The statewide training and education organization headquartered in the West Monitor Barn, VYCC has developed an agricultural program over the past four years.  
This installation is one more piece in the on-going commitment to revitalize the agriculture and economic contributions of this historic property. In the coming years, the Corps expects to bring the east farmstead back to life, developing the barns for leadership programs that will compliment the VYCC’s broad array of programs. 
President Thomas Hark says, ‘The Monitor Barns and the surrounding land were the epitome of Vermont's working landscape over the first half of the twentieth century and are coming back to life as regional economic engines. After years of decline, this working landscape will thrive again by embracing a 21st Century economy.’ 
‘It is our expectation that the public will be able to get up close and learn how solar works so that Vermont as a whole can have an even more intelligent conversation about our energy future,’ added Hark.
Manufactured just seven miles from the new solar orchard, AllSun Trackers produced by Williston-based AllEarth Renewables will produce 84,000 kWh annually.
The 14 pole-mounted solar trackers use innovative GPS and wireless technology to actively follow the sun throughout the day, producing more than 40 percent more energy than fixed solar panels. 

‘This solar orchard uses renewable  innovation to sustain some of the best of Vermont’s past,’ said David Blittersdorf, CEO and founder of AllEarth Renewables.  In June, AllEarth Renewables’ CEO was named by Business Week as one of 25 of ‘America’s Most Promising Social Entrepreneurs.’    
The AllSun Tracker orchard will supply all of  VYCC’s electric needs with excess going to local schools.
Chittenden East Superintendent John Alberghini says, ‘We couldn’t be more thrilled. Not only will this project cut costs, it will be a valuable part of our curriculum."

One hundred years ago the Monitor Barns in Richmond were a significant part of the regional economy. However, starting in the late 1930’s the farm and the barns began to deteriorate.  In 2005, the VYCC successfully restored the West Barn which now serves as the VYCC’s statewide headquarters. In 2008, VYCC purchased the East Monitor Barn and accompanying 165 acres.
About AllEarth Renewables, Inc.  

AllEarth Renewables is a Vermont company that specializes in the design, manufacture and installation of complete grid-connected solar renewable energy systems that lessen dependence on nuclear and fossil fuels and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The company’s goal is to provide turnkey products that harness the power of the sun for homes and businesses while creating sustainable, well-paying jobs. 
RICHMOND, Vermont . . . September 23, 2011 . . .