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Vermont Middle School Home to State's Largest Solar Installation

More than one-third of a rural Vermont middle school's electricity will be supplied by solar power, thanks to a new installation that's the largest of any school in the state.

The governor helped flip the switch on Crossett Brook Middle School's new system last week, and he said he planned to strengthen the state's solar programs so all of the state's schools could follow its lead.

The 260-student school in Waterbury began looking at building a solar array last year, and Green Lantern Capital provided the financing for the $550,000 project with no upfront cost to the school. The school will make monthly payments on the 480-panel system, which is enough to power about 30 homes. The array will save about 10 percent in those monthly costs, according to a press release from Green Lantern Capital, which has an office in Waterbury.

"This was a win-win for us," said Tom Drake, Crossett Brook's principal, in the release. "The financing option made it an easy budget decision and we're already incorporating the project into our curriculum. Our goal is for Crossett Brook to be a leader when it comes to sustainability science education."

Crossett Brook also was the first of the state's middle school to have a sustainability program that includes significant curriculum on renewable energy. Its surrounding community has a goal of being the greenest in the state by 2020.

The school has a pretty cool website that lets you see its live solar data. As of Monday morning, the school had generated enough energy to save nine trees, 44 gallons of gas, or three 60-watt light bulbs that are on eight hours a day for a year.

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