Nebraska Valley Solar Farm
Stowe Electric Department (SED) commissioned its 1 megawatt Nebraska Valley Solar Farm in August of 2016. It is located on Beech Hill Road on a municipally-owned reclaimed gravel pit that SED has leased from the Town. The project is predicted to generate roughly 1-2% of SED’s energy needs for the next 30 years. It is also located “behind the meter,” meaning that the energy it generates will offset the cost of energy that the utility would otherwise have to purchase from elsewhere. SED secured financing through the federal Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs) program that covers roughly 75% of the interest on the borrowing needed to install the project. This allowed the utility to own the project outright. This allows SED to capture benefits for its customers that would be lost if the project was owned by a third party developer. One of the biggest drivers behind this project is the Vermont Renewable Energy Standard (“RES”) which imposes requirements on utilities to include more renewable energy in their supply and penalties for failing to meet those requirements. The Nebraska Valley Solar Farm helps SED meet the RES mandate that some of that renewable energy come from small-scale generators. In total, this project is anticipated to avoid $2.2 million in penalty payments.