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Solar Power Comes to Downers Four Corners

If we are truly headed towards a Green revolution focusing on creating alternative, renewable sources of energy, there is a good chance Vermont will be one of the states leading the way.

That is in no small part due to the work for many years of Dave Bonta, founder of the Solar Store and author of New Green Home Solutions with co-author Stephen Snyder.

Bonta has been headquartered for some time now in the Weathersfield Business Center at Downers Four Corners, which also houses several other businesses along with the local Post Office.

Building owner Scott Bradley, who runs Aquacheck Lab in the building, worked with Bonta to install a solar powered, battery backup power system for the building.

"We're using solar to help offset usage," said Bradley, "and we have a lot of intermittent power outages here. We'll be able to continue our work seamlessly here in the lab, and this is also a great showcase for Dave's products as well."

The Post Office will also no longer have to worry about losing power.

Bonta said it is also one more step in a growing cooperation between solar installers and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Union. Bonta has a network of 23 Solar Stores across the country. Most are centered in New England, where Bonta began his business, but the licensed agreement with other Solar Stores are spreading rapidly, with some as far away as California now.

"The IBEW was given funding for training for renewable solar energy installations," Bonta said. "Most installers just did installations, not sales, whereas we had sales. When the IBEW joined up with the Solar Stores, it was a perfect win-win situation. It fills in the gap on the alternating current side of things."

Solar sales are growing, creating more work for renewable energy installers and now also for electricians who will tie the solar installations into the electrical grid. At the Weathersfield Business Center, the six 200 watt solar panels will power a rack of eight, 6-volt batteries, which will be used to power parts of the building during low usage hours, as well as provide backup power during electricity outages. Excess power will be sold back into the national grid.

"It means a lot," said Weathersfield Postmaster Cate Wormser. "It'll be a great convenience for us and our customers."

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