The Acorn Renewable Energy Co-op now offers our members a bulk pellet delivery and storage package.
Deliveries are made by a special pellet truck owned by Vermont Renewable Fuels. The driver/operator attaches a pneumatic delivery hose (up to 70 feet long) to permanent piping connected to storage containers in your basement, garage, or other building, and quickly fills the container(s).
This delivery service first began in the 2011-2012 heating season, and followed over a year of previous experiments supported by the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund that allowed us to test a number of different storage systems. After reviewing the feedback we received on those tests, we settled on four main storage options for our members.
Option 1 – 2.5 Ton - $1,500 to $1,600. This option consists of two external framed, heavy-duty fabric bags, each holding 1.25 tons, set up on a ¾-inch, 4x8-foot plywood platform supported by cement blocks. There are sleeves on the top for filling and venting. The homeowner draws pellets out of a gate valve installed near the bottom of each bag into a bucket to manually fuel the stove or smaller boiler. We’ve incorporated an innovative “jumper tube” that connects the two bags to enable the fill tubes to be switched (eliminating a third exhaust tube). The units (plus platform) are 74 inches tall but require 80-inch total height to allow for the piping. The price range for two bags (2.5 ton total capacity) and grounded piping installed is approximately $1,500 to $1,600.
Option 2 – 3 tons - $1,400 to $1,500. This option is a 3-ton, frameless, heavy-duty bag that works about the same as the previous system, except that a shopvac is included to help unload the pellets after the bag is about half empty. There are sleeves on the top for filling and venting, and four sleeves for draining, including one with a gate valve. The bag sits on a ¾-inch plywood platform supported by cement blocks. This unit is 72 inches in diameter and 81 inches tall (including the platform and cement blocks). An additional six-inch clearance is required at the top for the piping (87 inches total). This option will not work in basements with low ceiling clearances, but might be fine in a garage or shed. The price range is approximately $1,400 to $1,500.
Option 3 – 3 to 5 tons - $3,750 to $3,950. This option includes three-, four-, or five-ton hanging, heavy-duty fabric storage bins suspended on a wood and metal frame with automatic unloading, using an auger to transfer pellets automatically from storage container to your furnace/boiler hopper on demand. This option is best suited for larger capacity furnace/boilers. The auger system requires that the storage bin be reasonably close to the boiler. The total minimum height required for the three- and four-ton bins is 88 inches, while the five-ton bin (pictured) needs 97 inches. These bins are too tall for most basements. The installed price range for this system is around $3,750 to $3,950.
Option 4 – Custom Design - $3,350 and up. Basement ceiling height is a major limiting factor for many homes. This fourth option offers a custom-designed wooden bin to fit your available space with automatic unloading, using an auger to transfer pellets to your furnace/boiler hopper. This may be your best choice where ceiling height or other structural limitations are an issue. The installed price will start at around $3,350, depending on a wide range of variables.
Any of these bulk storage systems provide a 4-inch fill tube with a male coupling and removable cap that will be connected to the delivery truck’s hose. In addition, a means to exhaust the fines and relieve pressure while filling is provided. The fill connector should be easily accessible, ideally from outside of the building. All of the above options include permanent, grounded piping.
Every home is a little different; there may be site-specific conditions (such as a low ceiling, tight clearances, or other obstructions) that might require extra materials or labor that will affect the final installed price. We feel that the price ranges listed above reflect an “average” installation with no unusual problems. To determine the actual cost for your situation give us a call and we’ll set up a time for a site visit.
In order to participate in this Bulk Pellet Delivery and Storage Program you must be an Energy Co-op member.
If you need assistance with financing, we can help.
Through a special arrangement with the National Bank of Middlebury, qualified borrowers may finance all or a part of the cost of the bulk storage (or solar hot water) system.
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No more plastic bags!
No more lugging 40-pound bags up or down stairs. No more plastic waste to dispose of! Our bulk pellet delivery and storage systems make burning pellets almost as easy as burning oil. But it’s a lot easier on the environment.