Solar array awarded to Ferrisburgh Central School

Ferrisburgh, VT

A new array of solar panels will soon be changing sunshine into electricity on the grounds of Ferrisburgh Central School, thanks to student efforts to promote energy efficient lighting in the community. The $14,500 photo voltaic solar installation is being awarded as the grand prize of the annual CFL School Fundraiser Challenge, cosponsored by Green Mountain Power and Efficiency Vermont.

As one of seven competing schools, Ferrisburgh Central sold 593 compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) to Ferrisburgh residents. The challenge standings were calculated by determining the number of bulbs sold per student at each of the participating schools. Together, the participating schools sold 2,665 CFLs. That adds up to approximately $11,000 cut from electricity bills annually. Use of these bulbs will also prevent the release of approximately 90,000 pounds of carbon dioxide each year, since they will decrease the demand for electricity. Other schools that participated in the Challenge were Spaulding Union High School (Barre), Winooski High School, Montpelier High School, U-32 High School (E. Montpelier), Union Elementary School (Montpelier), and South Burlington High School.

The annual CFL Fundraiser Challenge offers Vermont public and private schools an opportunity to raise money for a local project by selling energy-efficient compact florescent light bulbs (CFLs) in the community. As part of the Challenge, students also participate in an energy education program. CFLs use up to 75% less energy than incandescent light bulbs and last up to 10-times longer while emitting the same amount of light. CFLs lower electricity bills because they use much more of their energy to produce light than old incandescent bulbs do; most of the energy in incandescent light bulbs is lost as heat.

"The students are so excited to have won this solar array," says JoAnn Taft-Blakely, principal of Ferrisburgh Central School. "Our school has a history of taking steps to reduce our impact on the environment. We have a school garden, and our cafeteria uses food from local farms. We also recently put up a 10 kilowatt wind turbine. This is another way to let students learn that their actions can make a difference."

"We're happy to see students engaged in a project that helps their families and neighbors reduce electricity use and save money" says Dorothy Schnure, Manager of Corporate Communications at Green Mountain Power. "Vermont's energy future depends on giving our youth the knowledge, skills and opportunities to become leaders in energy efficiency and alternative energy resources."

Paul Markowitz, Community Energy Program Manager at Efficiency Vermont, notes being "very impressed by the energy and enthusiasm that students displayed during the CFL Challenge. They are demonstrating the importance of energy efficiency and conservation to their homes and communities while also learning lessons that will help them save energy, and money throughout their lives."

Green Mountain Power will assist the school in working with a local solar installer to erect an approximately 2.5 kilowatt solar array at the Ferrisburgh Central School. The panel will produce approximately 3,300 kilowatt hours of power annually, and is expected to save the school at least $600 in electricity costs per year. The installation will also include a display that will allow students and teachers to monitor electricity production, and to incorporate the information into the science and math curriculum.

About Efficiency Vermont

As the nation’s first Energy Efficiency Utility, Efficiency Vermont has helped Vermont avoid over 13.2 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions and has received the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR program Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence award for the last eight consecutive years. Efficiency Vermont works with partners to help our state transition to more affordable, low carbon energy use through education, incentives, and support for our clean energy workforce. Learn more at

About Efficiency Vermont

Efficiency Vermontwas created by the Vermont Legislature and the Vermont Public Service Board to help all Vermonters reduce energy costs, strengthen the economy, and protect Vermont's environment. For more information, contact Efficiency Vermont at 888-921-5990 or visit

About Green Mountain Power

Green Mountain Power generates, transmits, distributes and sells electricity in Vermont and is a leader in wind and solar generation. It serves more than 96,000 customers.

Efficiency Vermont Press Contact
Matthew Smith
Phone: (802) 540-7662
[email protected]

Efficiency Vermont
Kelly Lucci
(802) 540-7630
[email protected]

Green Mountain Power
Dorothy Schnure
(802) 655-8418
[email protected]