John Guerin on “Pownal Racetrack Solar Field and Renewable Project Update”

John Guerin is the Vice President of Operations and Sales at EOS Ventures. EOS Ventures works to develop and own renewable projects. They work in wind energy, solar energy, cogeneration, and thermal storage. Guerin spoke specifically about the conception of the Pownal Racetrack Solar Field and Renewable Project and the challenges of the project. The two major challenges of the project were permitting and financing. In order to properly design a solar project, there are four necessary aspects: adequate roof or space, integration of the grid, a south facing area, and proper financing. For the Pownal Racetrack Solar Field, there was a 30 percent federal tax credit as well as state incentives that made solar power financially viable. EOS figures out the different state incentives that could help projects.

For the Pownal Racetrack Solar Field, EOS applied for the Vermont SPEED program which aims to make 20% of the state’s electricity generated from renewable energy. Through the Vermont SPEED program, the Pownal Racetrack Solar Field Project was built in three years. Those three years included working with Vermont’s Agency of Natural Resources and working to integrate the electricity to the grid. However, there were also hiccups along the way. EOS had to do a physical site prep to clear the land and set up a decommissioning fund. Once they had passed these hurdles, EOS then looked for a company to support them as a tax liability. Ultimately, it was more financially viable for them to sell the project and the ownership to Gestamp Solar who then sold it to Bank of America.

Guerin then reminded the audience that EOS Ventures does more than just work with solar energy. EOS is looking into newer designs of wind turbines that incorporate FloDesign turbines based on jet engine technology, which make the turbines more efficient. Furthermore, they are also developing more thermal storage projects and hope to increase renewable energy use in the future. Perhaps renewable energy will financially compete with the more traditional forms of energy within the near future.

By Helen Song ’14

Lucy Bergwall '15 (left) and John Guerin (right)
Lucy Bergwall ’15 (left) and John Guerin (right)