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Rutland launches first-of-its-kind solar project - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Rutland launches first-of-its-kind solar project

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RUTLAND, Vt. -

We've probably all heard of the environmental and economic benefits of using solar power, as more and more people use the energy alternative.

"Revolution I think is what's happening in the country," said David Allaire, the president of the Board of Aldermen.

But for some it's just not possible to use the cleaner energy option.

"Even if their home site could accept solar, on site, they may not be able to afford it," Rutland City Mayor Christopher Louras said.

Louras is one of 50 customers who signed up for the Innovative Community Solar Array, which was officially presented to the public Tuesday. The project, one of the first of its kind, allows customers to pay a monthly fee and receive a credit on their Green Mountain Power bill, a way to get solar without having to invest thousands of dollars into a home solar array. The array has 500 solar panels on Hillside Avenue, a space that previously was not being used efficiently.

"This location was like many locations in Rutland, was a dysfunctional site. It wouldn't have been appropriate for any other type of development," Louras said.

But now the space is bringing solar energy to families in the city of Rutland, who may not have been able to get it otherwise. As the Marble City continues toward its goal of being the solar capital of New England, Green Mountain Power says it sets an example here in Vermont and beyond.

"For the whole country, in terms of what can be done when there is that collaboration and a bias toward action, and that's what we have here," said Mary Powell, the CEO of GMP.

An innovative energy project paving the way for other cities to try to live efficiently.

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