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Springfield Net Metering

HB Energy Partners with Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Green Mountain Power in Solar Energy Project

Springfield, VT & Windsor, VT—


As a fourth generation member of the energy business, Brian Hernon of HB Energy Solutions understands the importance of evolving in response to the changing climate of the times.  Each generation before him recognized the need to stay current and embrace new technologies.  His great–grandfather installed coal–fired furnaces at the turn of the 19th century.  With the advent of oil in the 1930s and 40s, his grandfather, in turn, replaced these models. Brian’s father, Tom, owner of HB Energy Solutions, continued to maintain fossil fuels while keeping a finger on the pulse of emerging alternative sources of energy.  Brian now heads the company’s Alternative Energy Division, which includes wood and pellet stoves, wind power, and solar power.  Together, Brian and Tom created Springfield Net Metering, an arm of HB Energy designed to produce electricity from the sun. 


Green Mountain Power and Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center both demonstrate their commitment to renewable energy as they partner with HB Energy in this new solar endeavor. A 10–year agreement provides Mt. Ascutney Hospital with a guaranteed lower power rate that will not increase. Not only does the hospital see savings in their energy costs, but they also have a fixed energy expense free from the volatility and fluctuation of the market. The sun now generates a portion of the electricity used by MAHHC.  CEO of Mt. Ascutney Hospital, Kevin W. Donovan, explained that in addition to financial savings the hospital prioritizes energy conservation. "Hospital energy use is high due to the extensive reliance on technology, HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) and computer systems, and we are looking forward to taking the steps necessary to achieve our sustainability goals."



The demand for alternative energy is on the rise as the country seeks to address concerns over energy problems.  Change comes again for HB Energy in the form of solar power.  "I believe it is the role of our company to serve as a bridge from today’s fuels to renewable energy," Tom explains in response to this change.  "There is no silver bullet to solve the problem of energy needs, but rather a silver buckshot approach that utilizes various solutions.  This would include conservation efforts, developing sources of renewable energy, and using environmentally sound practices to gradually phase out our reliance on traditional energy sources.  A shift like this does not take place overnight.  This is a 15–20 year process."

  In order to begin bridging past technologies with future ones, HB Energy constructed a solar energy production facility located at their headquarters in Springfield, Vermont.  The impressive solar system technology harnesses energy created by the sun and produces electricity.  Approximately 150,000–185,000 watts of electricity are then sent back to the grid.  The solar system is comprised of three component parts, all located at HB Energy’s recently expanded energy campus.  The first sits atop a warehouse rooftop used to store wood pellets.  The second component is located in what used to be an on–site parking lot.  The third array location makes use of a field where a 500,000–gallon oil tank once stood and dominated the skyline.  The presence of the new solar array represents the gradual changeover from fossil fuels to solar energy. "I can’t predict what oil will cost 10 years from now," said Brian.  "However, I do know what energy from the sun will cost—it will still be free."



Greg Heaton of Green Mountain Power worked closely with Tom and Brian to coordinate the grid–tied aspects of the project.  "Green Mountain Power is committed to developing and supporting renewable energy.  We are excited to help HB bring this electricity online," said Greg. The installation of electrical equipment and relocation of existing facilities allows the solar energy to go onto the existing grid at two different locations. GMP meters the amount of electricity that is created and sent back to the grid.  As a beneficiary of the solar system, Mt. Ascutney Hospital is then issued credits for the power that is generated.  The hospital benefits with a fixed rate that is lower than the cost of traditionally produced electricity.  


One goal of the project is to demonstrate to the community how local energy generation can be built with minimal environmental impact and substantial local benefit.  Several jobs were created locally and it is projected that several more will be required in the development of solar power.  In outfitting the solar system, Tom and Brian conducted extensive research into the parts and products necessary to make it run.  The Helios solar panels are manufactured in Wisconsin and the Solectria inverter in Massachusetts. The racking and ballasting systems were designed and constructed in New Hampshire.  Tom said, "I was impressed by the quality of the products and the high–level of customer service from all vendors.  We prefer to spend money on American made products that create American jobs.  What is important to us is developing our own solutions to the questions of America’s energy needs." 

For more information about Springfield Net Metering, including investment opportunities, how to become a beneficiary of the solar credits generated, or to inquire about bringing solar to your town, business, or neighborhood, please call HB Energy at (802) 885–2300.