Nestled in the snowy hills of Mt. Institute a new 500 kW solar farm is helping a ski resort make snow! The Massachusetts family-run business, Berkshire East, can now claim the rights to owning the first ski resort that runs on 100 percent on-site renewable energy.
About Berkshire East
Berkshire East is located on Mt. Institute in the small town of Charlemont, Massachusetts. In the charming town of 1,266 residents, the ski resort hosts more than 100,000 skiers annually, and has six ski lifts and two lodges. The year-round resort also caters to thrill seekers in the warm summer months, offering one of the longest zip line canopy tours in the United States.
In Tandem: Solar and Wind
The recently commissioned 500 kW solar farm was developed by Sustainable Energy Developments Inc. SED installed 90 dual-axis AllSun Trackers manufactured by AllEarth Renewables. The dual-
axis trackers combine GPS and wireless technology to position more than 2,000 solar panels towards the sun throughout the day. Each AllSun Tracker is paired with an SMA Sunny Boy 6000-US inverter for maximized energy production. Despite the harsh winter conditions, the solar farm is expected to produce 700,000 kWh annually.
The solar farm accompanies a 900 kW wind turbine that the company installed in 2011. The 277-foot tall wind turbine, manufactured by PowerWind, has 91 foot-long blades and can spin up to 27 rotations per minute. Together the solar and wind systems produce enough power to cover the resort’s high electricity demand for the entire year.
Reducing Costs for the Future
According to Berkshire East spokesperson, Jon Shaefer, “the largest non-labor expense for Berkshire East is energy.” When natural snow is unavailable, energy guzzling snow-making equipment is used to supplement it. Concerns over climate change and energy price increases are making many ski resorts look at renewables as an investment for the longevity of their businesses. Berkshire East has used renewable energy as a security for their future, guaranteeing skiers and snowboarders will be able to hit the slopes for many years to come.
Solar Spotlight aims to highlight SMA inverters in real-world situations. Email us with information about your SMA-powered PV projects at SocialMedia@SMA-America.com
Social Media Specialist
Company and industry news, interviews, videos, and events through various social media channels. Some topics include: solar technology, photovoltaics, and renewable energy.
My Hobbies: Photography, travel, crafting, interior design and spending time with my family