Shelburne Museum is going all in on solar.
The museum will be fully powered by the sun later this year when it brings a second solar array online. The first array, completed in December 2020 on land adjacent to the museum campus in Shelburne, generates 500 kilowatts of power. The second array, scheduled to be completed by fall on land south of the campus, will produce150 kilowatts.
Together, the two solar arrays will generate an estimated 1.2 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually, enough to power more than 150 average New England homes. The museum will purchase net metering credits created by the systems at a discount, resulting in significant energy savings over the 25-year life of the project.
Museum Director Thomas Denenberg said in a news release the solar arrays are an “important step in our ongoing commitment to sustainability.”
“At Shelburne Museum we see our mission as not only focused on stewarding the museum’s renowned collections, buildings and gardens, we also believe that responsibility extends to our impact on the planet,” Denenberg said.
Something for the bees too
The museum partnered with Encore Renewable Energy in Burlington on the development, financing and construction of both solar projects. Chad Farrell, founder and chief executive officer of Encore, said in a news release that Shelburne will become one of the few museums in New England to be completely solar powered.
Shelburne Museum also formed a partnership with Bee The Change, a non-profit organization based in Weybridge, which supports pollinators with plantings in solar fields. The ground beneath both solar arrays is being planted with ground cover that will become habitat for bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, moths and other insects.
“The Shelburne Museum site is perhaps the most beautiful spot we have had the opportunity to install a pollinator habitat,” Michael Kiernan, co-founder of Bee The Change, said in a news release.
Pollinators are critical for flowering plants, fruits and vegetables, and nuts and berries, Kiernan said.
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