Having rescheduled because of a snowstorm in February, the weather for the April 20 Cavendish Solar Array dedication was only marginally better-sleet and rain. Consequently, the event was held in doors at the Town Office.
In spite of a very cold and snowy winter, 38,420 kWh have been accrued since the array went on-line at the end of December. You can monitor the array by going to http://126.96.36.199/srvp/FSC/SRV/main.php?siteId=3260
On hand were many of those directly responsible for the planning and building of the solar array, including various members of the Cavendish Energy Committee and members of the Select Board.
Peter LaBelle, chair of the Energy Committee, commented that Cavendish has been in the business of generating energy for the last 108 years.
Starting in 1899, the town clerk, Elliott White recognized the value of the Cavendish Gorge and plans were begun to tap into this resource. In 1905, the Claremont Power Company began construction of the Cavendish Hydro Station on the Black River. The dam was built in 1907, the same year the hydro station became operational. A steel penstock, seven feet in diameter, carried water to the turbines in the powerhouse.
By December 1909, utility poles were being installed in Cavendish and Whitesville and by 1910, Proctorsville and Cavendish villages were wired for electricity. It wouldn’t be until 1949 for the last houses in Cavendish to be connected, which was possible because of the Rural Electrification Act passed in 1932.
Interestingly, the same road built for the Hydro Station, Power Plant Rd, is the same one you take to the Solar Array. Hidden well out of site, the array has good southern exposure and even on a dark day, like April 20, its still generating power.
The Solar Array feeds into the Green Mountain Power grid and helps to offset the town’s energy bills.