The Town of Coventry held a dedication ceremony to celebrate the installation of new solar photovoltaic panels on the Town Hall Annex Building and a new wind turbine located behind the Town Hall near the Coventry High School football field.   These clean energy installations were made possible with funding from the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund (CCEF).

Both systems are helping to reduce the Town’s energy costs and protect the environment.

“Between its wind turbine and earned solar PV system, the Town can generate up to 8 kilowatts of clean power, providing enough energy for a typical household,” noted Hedman.

The overall benefit to the environment in terms of annual CO2 emissions savings resulting from Coventry’s clean energy commitment, including the solar PV installation, wind turbine installation, Town clean energy purchase, and CTCleanEnergyOptions signups, is the equivalent of conserving 78,400 gallons of gasoline each year or planting 574 acres of forest. The town’s efforts are helping reduce CO2 emissions by 1.5 million pounds per year.

Town Manager John A. Elsesser credits Coventry citizens for their interest in green energy in getting these initiatives underway. A group of young people from Capt. Nathan Hale Middle School’s Ecology Club developed a presentation and for several years urged residents to sign up for clean energy options. Their advocacy resulted in a commitment by Town officials to the CCEF’s Connecticut Clean Energy Communities Program.

The town agreed to purchase 20 percent of the electricity for its municipal facilities from clean sources by the year 2010 and made a municipal clean energy purchase. With the Town Council’s support, residents were encouraged to enroll in the CTCleanEnergyOptionsSM program, which allows any CL&P or UI customer the opportunity to support clean energy made from approved renewable resources such as wind and small hydro.

The goal was to enroll a minimum of 100 town residents into the program, which would qualify the town to receive a CCEF-provided 1-kilowatt (kW) solar photovoltaic array that would generate additional power for the town and provide electricity back to the grid during off-peak times.

The community embraced the project, and it didn’t take long – only a couple of months – to reach this milestone. Currently 169 residents and businesses are enrolled in the CTCleanEnergyOptions program and there are 16 clean energy installations in town.

The Town augmented its earned 1-kW system with 2 kW of solar PV purchased with the help of a grant from CCEF’s Connecticut Clean Energy Communities Program.

The Town can earn points toward additional earned kilowatts by garnering more clean energy signups or having more local businesses and households install clean energy systems, such as solar PV, solar thermal or geothermal.

The new 5-kW wind turbine, a Small Wind Turbine Demonstration Program project supported by CCEF, will reduce the Town’s energy usage and provide learning opportunities for Coventry high school students. It is part of a series of small wind energy installations designed to evaluate different wind technologies to determine what works best for Connecticut.

“Congratulations to Coventry on its diverse and well-supported clean energy initiatives,” said Dale Hedman, acting president of CCEF. “Coventry is successfully participating in three key CCEF initiatives – our Connecticut Clean Energy Communities Program, Community Innovations Grant Program and Small Wind Turbine Demonstration Program – and, as a result, has received the clean energy installations we celebrate today.” Hedman added, “The Town is one of just a handful of Connecticut municipalities selected to receive a demonstration wind turbine from CCEF, and by testing the turbine Coventry will be helping to provide valuable information on small wind turbine performance for Connecticut’s residents.”

Source: (COVENTRY, CT) May 5, 2011 – Connecticut Clean Energy Fund