Bristol Community Solar (AES3)
A Community-Owned Solar Project in Bristol, VT
Note: Since this is our third community solar project in Addison County, we initially named it Acorn Energy Solar 3 (AES3), but at a meeting with the Bristol select board on January 11, 2021, the project was renamed Bristol Community Solar (BCS).
In early 2020, we were contacted by a member of the Bristol Energy Committee about the possibility of developing a community solar project on the capped former municipal landfill located at 80 Pine Street in Bristol.
After additional discussions and several site visits to the former landfill, we decided that the site was well suited for solar development since it has good southern exposure and can't be seen from any public streets. In addition, this type of "brownfield" site receives favorable treatment from Vermont's energy permitting and approval agencies. In April 2020, we organized Acorn Energy Solar 3, LLC, the legal entity that participated in the early project formation and development work.
We met with the Bristol Selectboard on March 30, 2020, and again on April 23 to further explore project feasibility, lease terms and to develop a proposal. Based on the information provided at the April 23rd meeting, the Selectboard subsequently approved a Memorandum of Understanding as well as a lease option agreement for the Bristol Community Solar (AES3) project.
In late December 2020, after a lengthy delay while we awaited a line and substation impact study from Green Mountain Power, we signed a memorandum of understanding with Co-operative Insurance Companies of Middlebury to be the “Series A investor” for our Bristol project. We are extremely pleased to have them as major participants in BCS (AES3) (they played a similar major investment role in our Shoreham, Vermont project, AES2, as well as our Middlebury project, Acorn Energy Solar One).
We also finally received a favorable result of the feasibility study from Green Mountain Power, along with their letter of support for the project. These developments provided the green light for us to submit an application for a Certificate of Public Good (CPG) to the Vermont Public Utility Commission (PUC) on December 23, 2020.
We have been working with Aegis Renewable Energy of Waitsfield (our contractor for AES2 in Shoreham) to develop a plan for the approximately $1.75 million Bristol project. The AES3 design calls for approximately 1,862 solar panels, 405 watts DC each, which will cover a little over three acres of undulating terrain on the 12-acre capped landfill site. At 500 kilowatts AC, BCS (AES3) will be considerably larger than our two previous 150 kW AC projects in Middlebury and Shoreham.
What distinguishes this project from most other solar development in the state, is that it’s entirely local in its legal, financial, and ownership structure. It’s designed by Vermonters, for Vermonters, and like AES2 in Shoreham, will ultimately be owned by the local investors who are project participants (individuals, local businesses, churches, and other organizations), and who will benefit from the project's energy production during its service life.
Those investors will receive monthly credits on their Green Mountain Power bills in proportion to their project ownership. This will allow these local investors to play an active part in Vermont’s renewable energy future, and will also provide them with a reliable and stably priced local source of electricity in uncertain times. It also demonstrates how projects like these can be successfully developed with the active partnership among Acorn Energy Co-op, town governments, and local residents and businesses.
If you are interested in participating in the Bristol Community Solar project as a Series B investor, please contact our coordinator, Mary Mester, and she will add you to the list to receive more detailed information when it becomes available.
If you have any questions, please send an email to email@example.com, or call our coordinator, Mary Mester, at 802-385-1911.
Follow these links for information about our previous Community Solar Projects:
Additional information about our community-owned solar projects is also available by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org.