Staff

Champlain Valley Union High School has added a new element to its sustainability curriculum: an off-grid solar system to power its greenhouse.

Courtesy photo The system is made of 2200 watts of LG solar panels, an Outback Power inverter and charge controller paired with KiloVault Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries.

Courtesy photo. The system is made of 2200 watts of LG solar panels, an Outback Power inverter and charge controller paired with KiloVault Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries.

The idea started as a project from students in the Nexus program before being handed off to Tom Mongeon, director of maintenance, and sustainability teacher, Dave Trevithick.

“It can run the honey centrifuge and power tools, keep the goat’s water unfrozen,” said Trevithick.

And, of course, it keeps the lights on, helping the students raise vegetables that are served up in the CVU cafeteria. Last year they grew 450 pounds of produce.

The system is made of 2200 watts of LG solar panels, an Outback Power inverter and charge controller paired with KiloVault Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries.

Green Mountain Solar only does a handful of off-grid projects every year, said field supervisor Ben McFeeters.

“Off-grid is not usually a feasible solution for most homeowners, but this was a unique situation where off-grid made more sense than attempting to make a grid-tied system, because the electrical load was relatively small, and to run power to the greenhouse would have required expensive trenching across the parking lot,” McFeeters said. “Along with growing their own food, they can now produce all the power needed right on site.”