Middlebury College adds solar trackers to its energy mix

first_imgThis spring a solar energy system will join Middlebury College’s biomass plant and wind turbine on campus.College officials have signed an agreement with Williston-based AllEarth Renewables to create a small 143kW solar farm consisting of 34 solar trackers that will produce an average of 200,000 kilowatt-hours annually. The installation’s total kWh will produce enough electricity for a year for one of the college’s residence halls the size of Battell Hall, which houses about 238 students. The solar farm will be located on about 1.5 acres of college land on Route 125, west of McCardell Bicentennial Hall, Middlebury’s science facility.AllEarth manufactures the innovative solar tracker systems, called AllSun Trackers, that feed electricity into nearby power lines. According to David Blittersdorf, CEO and founder of AllEarth Renewables, the solar trackers, which are mounted on poles, use GPS and wireless technology to actively follow the sun throughout the day, producing more than 40 percent more energy than fixed solar panels of the same size. The company constructs the equipment at its Williston facility, using many parts made in Vermont.AllEarth will subcontract the installation of the site to Weybridge-based Backspin Renewables, which will begin work in February and complete the project this spring.‘Middlebury College continues to walk the walk in energy leadership. A product of student research in the college’s environmental studies program, this solar farm will put front and center the benefits of advanced solar technology for one of the leading academic institutions in the country,’ said Blittersdorf. ‘We are pleased that Backspin Renewables, a local Addison County solar tracker installer, will build this project.’‘We’re excited to have this system to explore the potential for additional solar power in the future,’ said Jack Byrne, Middlebury College director of sustainability integration. ‘This is a demonstration project that offers an opportunity for student learning and research as well as one more option to explore as we pursue our goal to become carbon neutral by 2016. Staff will also have the chance to gain an understanding of the operational aspects of a solar energy system.’Byrne added, ‘It’s good to know that we are producing clean energy and putting some of it back into the grid as well.’Solar energy is not completely new to Middlebury ‘ solar panels were mounted on the Franklin Environmental Center in 2008 and on Farrell House in 2003 but the new project is significantly larger than the installations on these two college buildings. Byrne said the new system will produce about 15 times the power of the existing panels.According to Dean of Environmental Affairs Nan Jenks-Jay, students have expressed an interest in developing a solar energy system at Middlebury for several years in a number of academic courses. Most recently, four students in Professor of Economics Jon Isham’s fall semester ‘Environmental Economics’ class wrote a report, ‘The Cost-Benefit Analysis of a proposed Small Scale Solar Farm at Middlebury College,’ concluding that a project with AllEarth would have a positive economic and social impact. In 2010 students in an environmental studies seminar taught by Professor of Environmental and Biosphere Studies Steve Trombulak also recommended the college commission a solar project with AllEarth.Caleb Elder, an AllEarth Renewables employee and a 2004 Middlebury graduate, had heard about the student interest and approached administrators in 2011 about constructing a solar system. College officials referred back to the students’ work and realized the timing was right for such a project.Based on current and projected electric rates and at a predicted production of 200,000 kWh annually, the system is expected to save the college about $5,000-$10,000 a year. ‘From a financial standpoint, this is a low risk project with a positive impact,’ said Middlebury College Vice President for Finance and Treasurer Patrick Norton. ‘At current rates, we will earn money for every kWh produced and we will retain rights to the clean energy credits.’‘Once again, we are grateful to our students for their energy and commitment to sustainability,’ said Byrne. ‘As with the biomass plant, they provided the initial research and interest that helped make this project possible.’AllEarth Renewables specializes in the design and manufacture of affordable, turnkey grid-connected solar electric systems. AllSun Trackers vastly simplify system design, supply chain management and installation for systems large and small. AllEarth Renewables aims to lessen dependence on nuclear and fossil fuels and reduce greenhouse gas emissions while creating sustainable, well-paying jobs. AllEarth Renewables was named the fastest growing company in Vermont in 2010 and the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year in 2011. Its AllSun Tracker was selected as a ‘Top-10 Green Product of the Year’ by BuildingGreen, Inc and in June 2011, AllEarth Renewables’ CEO was named one of 25 of ‘America’s Most Promising Social Entrepreneurs’ by Business WeekMIDDLEBURY, Vt- January 16, 2012last_img read more

US now says asymptomatic people don’t need virus test after exposure

first_imgTopics : This is not true: though the US is testing at a high level, that is because its outbreak is worse than any other country in the world, with more than 5.8 million confirmed cases and almost 180,000 deaths.The CDC’s site previously said: “Testing is recommended for all close contacts of persons with SARS-CoV-2 infection. “Because of the potential for asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission, it is important that contacts of individuals with SARS-CoV-2 infection be quickly identified and tested.”The site now says: “If you have been in close contact (within 6 feet) of a person with a COVID-19 infection for at least 15 minutes but do not have symptoms, you do not necessarily need a test unless you are a vulnerable individual or your health care provider or State or local public health officials recommend you take one.” After previously encouraging people without COVID-19 symptoms to get tested if they have been exposed to someone diagnosed with the virus, US health authorities have abruptly reversed their position without a clear explanation.The changes in guidance were quietly made to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website on Monday amid US media reports of political interference from the White House.President Donald Trump has repeatedly said that the US should do less testing, and blamed testing for making it appear as though the country is doing poorly against the pandemic.center_img Fauci critical In a call with reporters, senior health department official Brett Giroir said, “The new guidelines are a CDC action. As always, guidelines received appropriate attention, consultation and input from [coronavirus] Task Force experts.”Giroir did not elaborate on what new evidence had led to the guidance. But he said that the documents had been seen by other senior officials including the widely respected Anthony Fauci, who leads the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases.Fauci later denied this, telling CNN: “I was under general anesthesia in the operating room and was not part of any discussion or deliberation regarding the new testing recommendations.”I am concerned about the interpretation of these recommendations and worried it will give people the incorrect assumption that asymptomatic spread is not of great concern. In fact, it is,” he added.Fauci had surgery last Thursday to remove a vocal cord polyp.The CDC has previously emphasized that between 40-50 percent of people with Covid-19 are asymptomatic, and therefore getting tested is important to stop the spread of the virus.Many other health experts also reacted with dismay. “I still can’t make sense of @CDCgov change in guidance,” tweeted Leana Wen, a professor at George Washington University and former health commissioner of Baltimore.”An estimated 40-50% of people with #covid19 are asymptomatic. Those exposed to the virus need to know to protect their family members & the public. One has to wonder: is this change because we don’t have enough tests?”Both The New York Times and CNN quote officials saying that the CDC was instructed to change its guidelines following pressure from the president.The Trump administration has previously been accused of pressuring the CDC to change its guidance on reopening schools, weighting its recommendations heavily in favor of in-person learning.The political neutrality of the Food and Drug Administration was also questioned this week when its chief, Stephen Hahn, joined Trump in misrepresenting a key statistic about the effectiveness of blood plasma.He later apologized.last_img read more

‘Pusoy’ lands 4 SAP recipients in jail

first_imgRecovered from their possession were a deckof playing cards and P170 bet money.Detained in the lockup cell of Police Station 9, the suspects face charges forviolation of Presidential Decree 1602, which prescribes stiffer penalties onillegal gambling./PN Police identified them as residents RuthGelio-Agan; Joenel Mendoza; Ronnie Deyred; and Evelyn Aguilar, who is also a PantawidPamilyang Pilipino Program beneficiary. BACOLOD City – Four social ameliorationprogram beneficiaries were arrested for illegal gambling in Barangay PuntaTaytay.center_img They were caught playing pusoy around 4:30 p.m. on April 23,police said.last_img read more