Greenwood Energy’s 7 MW Elizabeth Mine Solar Project Wins Engineering Award
Greenwood Energy’s 7 MW Elizabeth Mine Solar Project, located between Strafford and Thetford, Vermont, was a winner at the 2018 American Council of Engineering Companies VT Engineering Excellence Awards Competition in the Special Projects category.
As a result of over 100 years of copper mining activity, the Elizabeth Mine site was previously listed as a US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Superfund Site due to extensive soil, groundwater and surface water impacts from acid mine drainage that leached from the mine waste materials. Several years ago, a 45-acre engineered capping system was constructed to provide environmental protection and minimize/eliminate the toxic condition. In 2017, Greenwood Energy installed the 7 MW project on 30 acres of the engineered cap. The project is made up of approximately 20,000 350 watt Hyundai solar panels installed on a ballasted racking system. The work required extensive collaboration with the Towns of Strafford and Thetford, the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, the USEPA, and the US Army Corps of Engineers.
The project provides enough electricity to power 1,333 typical Vermont homes and offsets 7,136 tons of carbon dioxide every year. In addition to providing clean renewable energy, the project upgraded a significant portion of the Green Mountain Power distribution system from Sharon to Strafford, Vermont. This has helped to improve the reliability of the town’s electrical supply.
This project is an example of turning a previously contaminated tract of land with limited redevelopment potential into a source of jobs, tax income and clean renewable energy for the surrounding community.