Sugarbush Resort’s Mount Ellen powered by solar

Resort officials say a warming climate is a threat to the entire industry, something they take seriously.
Published: May. 3, 2021 at 8:22 AM EDT
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WARREN, Vt. (WCAX) - Sugarbush Resort’s Mount Ellen is run entirely on solar power.

Resort officials say a warming climate is a threat to the entire industry, something they take seriously. That’s why they, along with many businesses in Vermont, are thinking clean and green.

“Climate change is really going to play a big role in the ski industry going forward and we need to play our part in that,” said John Bleh with Sugarbush.

For the ski resort, weather is important to the business, so protecting the climate is a top priority and ways to do that are everywhere.

“In particular, renewable energy that we can sort of strive toward those goals and lead by example for our guests and employees and community,” said Bleh.

Currently, Sugarbush has completed a solar field at Lincoln Peak in partnership with Green Lantern Solar, part of a six-array system that powers all of Mount Ellen’s operations, or 41% of Sugarbushes’ total operation.

Everything from lifts to lights, to the energy-costing snowmaking.

“Energy is a big one and, obviously, it is beneficial from a climate change perspective but also from a cost perspective,” said Bleh.

Something Green Lantern Solar is proud of.

“Some virtual net meter solar so offsite solar since they don’t tend to have a lot of land on their premises,” said Luke Shullenberger with Green Lantern Solar.

By utilizing solar credits and the net metering program, Shullenberger says businesses like Sugarbush are a perfect partner.

With no upfront costs for Sugarbush, Bleh says they save about $130,000 in energy costs annually.

“It allowed a lot of entities that otherwise wouldn’t be able to participate the ability to because they didn’t have a suitable roof or suitable land on site,” said Shullenberger.

And Shullenberger says businesses are starting to think green, which Sugarbush is encouraging.

They say the more people that hop in, the easier attaining climate goals will be.

“I think a large part of this is leading by example, educating our guests and employees and community partners in following suit,” said Bleh.

Sugarbush says they don’t have a specific energy goal at the moment but any way they can continue to look forward to renewable energy, they are thinking about.

Bleh says he imagines 100% is the eventual goal because sustainability is in their mission.

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