Vineyard Power Cooperative (VPC) has begun development of a “large scale” solar electricity project to be built on canopies above the side parking lot of Cronig’s Market in Vineyard Haven. The plan consists of two rows of solar electricity parking lot canopies. The 128 kilowatt (kW) canopy array will provide approximately 160,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity a year. It will include electric vehicle charging stations to power a future fleet of electric vehicles. The cooperative announced the plan in an email sent January 11 to members.
Richard Andre, president of VPC, declined to make public the financial details of the project but said that it will cost approximately $1 million. The array will be owned by Vineyard Power Solar, LLC, a subsidiary of VPC.
VPS will lease the Cronig’s location. It will be funded by local equity investors and debt financing from Edgartown National Bank. The West Tisbury-based South Mountain Company will design and install the project. Mr. Andre said that the project will eventually be able to use both state and federal tax credits to defray the cost and will be able to sell the power produced back to the grid.
VPC has begun the design and permitting process and hopes to begin construction at the end of March or early April, Mr. Andre said. The project is scheduled for a pre-public hearing review by the Martha’s Vineyard Commission (MVC) on Monday, January 23.
VPC membership is open to year-round and seasonal Vineyard residents. Its goal is to power the Island from renewable energy sources. The co-op currently has 1,200 members. The membership fee is now a one-time fee of $150, increasing quarterly until 2016, when it will be $950.
The VPC website states that the economic benefits of cooperative membership begin with stabilized electricity prices by 2016 and then significantly lower prices after the initial financing period.
More information on Vineyard Power is available online at www.vineyardpower.com.