Solar Schools Are Sanders’ Latest Vermont Energy Initiative
BURLINGTON, May 27 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) announced today that he secured $500,000 for Vermont public schools to install solar panels, the latest development in the senator’s ongoing campaign to transform Vermont’s energy system.
“We must move, as aggressively as possible, to become energy independent, to address the crisis of greenhouse gas emissions and global warming and, in the process, create millions of new jobs over a period of years in the clean-energy field,” Sanders said. “In my view, this is one of the transformational issues of our time and I very much hope that Vermont will be a national leader in this area.”
The school solar grants – designed to help lower electric bills and teach students about alternative energy – will be distributed by the Vermont Department of Education to about 10 schools. “The truth is that in Vermont solar energy can become an important part of our energy mix and it’s vital that we begin that process as soon as possible,” said Sanders, chairman of the Green Jobs and the New Economy Subcommittee.
A member of both the energy and environment committees, Sanders said Vermont has made important strides toward energy efficiency, but the state has not been as forward-thinking about power generated from wind, solar, geothermal, biomass and other sources of sustainable energy. “I am working hard to try and change that,” he said. “The need to transform our energy system by moving away from fossil fuels to energy efficiency and sustainable energy is of huge consequence to Vermont and the nation.”
Over the next several years, millions of dollars for sustainable energy projects will flow to Vermont. The funds will be in addition to $10.3 million for Vermont that was included in the economic stimulus bill to fund an energy block grant program that Sanders helped create.
Other energy initiatives that Sanders has won for Vermont include:
- The largest sustainable energy project in the state’s history, a $5 million program with the Vermont National Guard. “My hope is that, within a few years, the Vermont National Guard will have the greenest Guard base in America and will be able to set an example for bases around the country,” Sanders said.
- A $260,000 solar project at the Camel’s Hump Middle School in Richmond. A 75-kilowatt array of solar photovoltaic cells combined with energy-efficiency measures will substantially reduce the school’s use of electricity.
- More than $300,000 going to four state colleges for greener campuses, including Vermont Technical College for a wood pellet boiler, Lyndon State College for a solar array, Johnson State College for building efficiency improvements, and Castleton State College for an energy efficiency metering initiative.
- A $500,000 allotment for installation of solar hot water heaters in hundreds of public housing units in Barre, Bennington, Brattleboro and Burlington.