Two utility-scale projects in Vermont announced this week will mark RGS Energy’s growth into a different market.
RGS Energy, the commercial arm of Real Goods Solar, announced that it is partnering with Gestamp Solar to build a 2.3-megawatt solar installation in Pownal and 2.5-megawatt array in Williamstown, Vermont.
Gestamp will own and operate the solar projects while RGS will design and install the ground-mounted solar photovoltaic systems. Before 2008, Real Goods Solar was best known for residential rooftop installations in the western United States, said Jeffrey Schmidt, president of RGS Energy. It still is best known for its residential solar development, though it’s gaining a national reputation.
Once the company merged with Alteris Renewables last year, however, the company began to branch out into larger projects more. “Alteris was the opposite,” Schmidt said. “They did medium to large projects with almost no residential.”
That partnership helped RGS branch out and more aggressively and knowledgeably pursue larger-scale commercial and utility-scale projects. The company has been developing that arm of its business successfully, Schmidt said. But these projects in Vermont are particularly significant. They are part of a three-year pursuit, Schmidt said.
The power will be sold through the state’s feed-in-tariff under the Standard Offer Program of Vermont’s Sustainably Priced Energy Development (SPEED) Program. Vermont’s FIT is making it an enticing place to do business for solar companies. And Schmidt said the project means a lot to RGS. While the company has done a number of larger commercial solar installations, this will be the first one like this, Schmidt said.
“The important of this project is that it’s a utility interconnect,” he said. “That’s what matters to me – are you in front of or behind the meter. ”These two projects break RGS into utility-scale development.