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City Market goes green

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Burlington, Vermont - March 12, 2010

City Market is now using the sun to go green. 

City Market made the switch Friday, introducing solar energy into its power supply at the store in Burlington. The latest effort of the store to become more environmentally friendly.

"We replace a lot of motors with more efficient motors and fans, we do the degradable plastic bags, we have reusable bags," said Pat Byrnes of City Market.

The panels work year round, on an overcast day they provide about 25% of their capacity for energy output, and closer to 100% during sunnier months.

"There are 136 solar panels on the roof, and on a peak day it will generate about enough power to supply 6 homes in Burlington with electricity.

Those panels came with a price tag of about $180,000, but with grants and tax credits the co-op only had to front half of the cost, but only to save a little over $6,000, about 3% of their annual energy costs.

"We spend about $17,000 a month on electricity so it you do the math its about $6,500 on a yearly basis," said Byrnes.

Some residents say the initial investment too costly to take home with them.

"Independent home owners probably not," said Derek Chasse of Burlington.

"Because of the up front cost?" asked reporter Molly Smith.

"Yeah, especially the way it is now. Yes," replied Chasse.

The grocery store uses much more power than the average home with its larger size and all of the refrigeration units, but Burlington residents say Gro-Solar should use money-back incentives for home owners interested in going solar.

"Yeah I definitely think that's a great idea, get people to buy products that take less energy and giving them a little money back too," said Chasse.

Byrnes said he hopes their efforts spark and interest in others. He said if everyone made small adjustments it would make a big difference for the future of the city.

City Market hopes to add more panels in the future.

Molly Smith - WCAX-TV

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