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Bhima Nitta Had a Dream!

One of the two solar arrays installed at T&M Enterprises in Shaftsbury, VT. This array, located in Bennington, produces the majority of the power while a smaller roof-mounted array accounts for the rest. Combined, the two arrays have a capacity of 180kW. Photo: Karen Jernigan.

Power Guru Reaches Bhima’s Goal, Carrying on his Legacy

George Harvey

In the September edition of Green Energy Times, we noted the passing of Bhima Nitta. He was a man who worked passionately to address the climate crisis. His passing at the age of 54 is sad and leaves us with a feeling of emptiness. Bhima Nitta, however, left us a legacy that is being carried on by others. Power Guru, the solar developer Bhima founded, is continuing without his day-to-day presence and is keeping up the momentum of solar installations.

We recently received an update on how the company has been doing, pursuing his long-term goals. It seems that Bhima set it up quite well to continue with its climate goals, and this can be seen in performance numbers for the year. Bhima Nitta had a goal to install 336 kilowatts (kW) of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels in 2020. The amount actually installed surpassed that goal by a wide margin.

One of four new buildings in the Lake Paran Village, Bennington, VT. Each building is equipped with its own solar arrays to power the apartments within. Courtesy image

During the course of the year, Power Guru installed a number of small systems, and these came to 69kW. Along with these, however, were three large systems totaling 345kW, clearly exceeding the goal. These three large systems are worth describing.

One of the large systems was installed at AQX, an airport in Bennington, Vermont. This system has 100kW of solar panels, which are on the roof of a hanger. The purpose of the installation was to reduce both the airport’s utility bills and its carbon footprint. With planning, it became apparent that AQX could have an array larger than it needed to provide the airport’s power, so AQX entered into an agreement on net metering with the Second Chance Animal Hospital, to the benefit of both organizations.

Another of the large systems Power Guru installed last year was for T&M Enterprises, a plastic injection molding company in Shaftsbury, Vermont. Injection molding is dependent on electricity for heating the plastic, and it can be a big draw on the power grid. Because of that, T&M was facing high electricity bills, and it decided that solar PVs offered a solution to that problem. The system was installed as two arrays. One is a large array on a roof of a building. The other is an even larger array set up as a ground mount. These two arrays of solar panels have a combined capacity of 180kW. T&M Enterprises has put a photo of its solar array up at its website tandmplastics.com.

The third of the large systems Power Guru installed in 2020 was for Shires Housing, a non-profit housing organization in Bennington, VT. A solar PV system was set up for a new housing project, Lake Paran Village, which was completed in September. The twenty-two living units were set up to be efficient and comfortable places for people to live, with heat, hot water, most appliances, and hookups for washers and dryers. These apartments are powered by a 65-kW rooftop solar system.

Power Guru used Hanwha Q-Cells for all three of the large systems listed here. The inverters and optimizers are Solar Edge products.

The AQX airport in Bennington installed a 100kW rooftop solar array on a hanger. The electricity produced supplies the airport as well as the Second Chance Animal Hospital. Photo courtesy Power Guru.

These projects are not all that Power Guru has been doing. Other projects are under development, and one of these is particularly noteworthy. Vermont Mill Properties occupy 12.5 acres of land, with about 215,000 square feet of interior space that it rents, primarily for offices and storage. The result of activity at the site is that it needs quite a lot of electricity.
Power Guru started development work on a solar array for Vermont Mill early in 2020. It is to be a 220-kW array installed on the rooftop as a Community Solar Project. All customers of Green Mountain Power can buy shares in this system and will get their power once it is complete. Work has been slowed because of Covid-19 regulations and the lockdown, but the system will hopefully be online soon.

Clearly, the dream of addressing climate change by bringing solar power to people, a dream that Bhima Nitta made into a reality, is still doing good in this world.
Power Guru’s web address is www.power-guru.com.

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