Solar Strength

GreenBuilding

Two companies are working to make Martha’s Vineyard energy neutral with numerous residential and commercial projects. 

At just nine miles wide and a marathon-run long (or 26 miles), roughly 16,000 people call Martha’s Vineyard home, but the population swells to 100,000 during the busiest summer months. On this island south of Cape Cod, local organizations like South Mountain Company – an integrated architecture, building, engineering, and renewable energy company – know that thoughtful, responsible use of natural and human resources is key to maintaining the island’s vitality and beauty.

“South Mountain Company is a worker cooperative, which means our employees have an ownership stake in the business, giving them the means to make lasting, valuable change where we all live and work – and installing SunPower solar is one way we choose to make an impact,” says John Abrams, founder, CEO and president of South Mountain Company.

Approximately 500 solar power systems – roughly 8 megawatts of capacity – are operating on Martha’s Vineyard. South Mountain Company has installed about 250 of those systems for Martha’s Vineyard’s residential, commercial, and institutional customers.

“Over time, we have the potential to make the Vineyard energy neutral so that it’s generating as much – if not more – energy than it’s consuming,” Abrams adds. “While we may not know when, we know it will happen one day.”

Founded in 1975, South Mountain Company has integrated solar energy solutions into its residential and commercial design projects since the company’s inception. It has been a dedicated SunPower dealer partner since 2007.

“Like SunPower, South Mountain Company strives to delight customers with long-lasting, reliable, and sustainable solar – without sacrificing superior design and high-quality craftsmanship,” says Martin DeBono, SunPower senior vice president. “We commend South Mountain Company for the innovative work they’re doing to ease electricity costs for all Martha’s Vineyard residents, including low-income families, local farmers and grocery stores with high-efficiency solar from SunPower. South Mountain Company has set a great example for communities nationwide looking to become more energy independent while also protecting the planet by using clean electricity.”

Several of South Mountain Company’s notable projects with SunPower solar include:

  • The Eliakim’s Way Neighborhood where eight net-zero, U.S. Green Building Council LEED Platinum® certified homes were built by South Mountain Company for moderate-income families, all featuring SunPower solar energy systems totaling 5 kilowatts each.
  • The island’s first solar carport system at Cronig’s Market. The 210-kilowatt SunPower system helps power six electric vehicle charging stations at the community store, which is recognized by locals for its dedication to sustainability.
  • 150 kilowatts total of ground-mounted SunPower systems installed at two small, capped landfills on the island. These solar installations allowed one local municipality to offset more than 100 percent of its energy use with clean, renewable power, while the other offsets about 60 percent.

“We believe that every property South Mountain Company designs and builds should be both beautiful and low-impact, producing more energy than it consumes whenever possible,” John Abrams says. 

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