Bistro Henry's goes solar

MANCHESTER -- The position of greenest restaurant in town may have been decided.

Bistro Henry, owned by Henry Bronson, recently put in 10 dual axis All Sun trackers. This solar array will provide power for the restaurant, Bronson's residence and the Inn at Manchester. "The opportunity presented itself [to put in the solar panels] to me and it was a no-brainer," Bronson said.

Green energy is not new to Bistro Henry. Bronson said he has recycled and composted for years, uses LED lights, an efficient propane furnace and three years ago, installed a solar powered water heater. "We have six panels on the roof with a glycol solution that runs in them," he said. "This preheats the water that goes into the water heater where it is then heated up."

Frank Hanes, the owner of the Inn at Manchester, said in a press release that they [the Inn at Manchester] support all efforts to create opportunities for sustainable alternative energy. "Utilizing local surplus power from the sun helped us lessen the footprint that The Inn at Manchester lease on the planet -- that's important to everyone here."

The panels are owned by Green Mountain Power and the 60 kWh system is the largest solar tracking project in the region. Annually, the panels will produce 87,000 kWh of renewable energy. The excess energy will be returned to the grid during peak production times and Bistro Henry will pull power from the grid as needed. The panels that track the sun, the press release stated, and produce up to 45 percent more energy than fixed rooftop systems.

Bronson said the panels move as the sun tracks across the sun during the day and at night or during periods of high wind, the panels will lie flat. "They're just like sunflowers, they follow the sun," he said.

Bronson said the installation of the panels took about three weeks, mostly due to dealing with the weather.

The panels were installed and designed by Solar Pro of Arlington and AllEarth Renewables of Williston. According to a press release, Solar Pro has installed more than 75 solar systems in southern Vermont.


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