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Vergennes parish to go solar

VERGENNES—Father Yvon Royer, pastor of St. Peter Church, had been wondering if the parish could go solar, and after he read an article in Vermont Catholic magazine about the first parish solar project in the Diocese of Burlington – at St. Peter Parish in Rutland – he decided to look into it seriously. It helped that at about the same time earlier this year Bristol Electronics in Bristol sent an advertisement about its solar business.
 
His question soon was answered: Yes, the Vergennes parish could go solar.
 
Now plans call for a solar array to be installed on the parish hall center in November.
 
“God was looking over us,” said Father Royer, who is also pastor of St. Ambrose Church in Bristol.
 
The parish currently gets four Green Mountain Power Corp. electric bills: one each for the church, rectory, parish center and thrift shop. The annual total electric bill is about $5,300.
 
None of the buildings use electric heat.
 
The cost of the solar project will be $73,145; $20,000 of that will come from a grant from Green Mountain Power and the rest from parish savings.
 
Father Royer estimates it will take 10 years for the parish to recoup the money by not having to pay the monthly electric bills. But because the solar array is guaranteed for 25 years, “we’ll get 15 years’ worth of free electricity.”
 
It is possible some of the savings will be used for youth ministry and evangelization programs, Father Royer said.
 
The project has been approved by the parish council and finance council, the buildings and grounds committee and the Diocese of Burlington. Approval for an 87-panel system is pending from the Vermont Public Service Board, the pastor said. That is a larger size than normal and thus needs special approval.
 
The smallest system the parish would get would be 60 panels.
 
“This is a green initiative. People are really supportive of green projects,” Father Royer said. “I’m happy we are able to do it.”
 
Last modified onThursday, 22 September 2016 14:42
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