Berkshire Renewable Energy
Solar and Wind at Berkshire East
Powered by a 500kWh solar facility and a 900kWh wind turbine, Berkshire East is the only ski area in the world to generate 100% of our electricity from on-site renewable energy.
Wind Turbine Facts
- The turbine was built in the Fall of 2010 and commissioned in January 2011.
- The wind turbine is 277-feet tall.
- The turbine is remotely monitored, 24-hours a day, and it is possible to control the turbine from a smart phone.
- Each blade is 91-feet long, and there are three of them.
- The center of the hub is about 195-feet in the air.
- The blades spin at 27rpm, at maximum.
- The turbine’s operating efficiency has improved each year it has operated; these increases come from improvements to the operating software.
Solar Field Facts
- There are 1,800 panels in a 10-acre field.
- Each panel is in a group of 24 on a pole that make up one All Sun Renewable Solar Tracker.
- There are 90 Solar Trackers that follow the sun from sun-up to sun-down.
- Our solar trackers produce 35%–45% more electricity than a fixed panel and provide enough sunlight to sustain an oxygen-producing flora and necessary vegetation for wildlife.
- Berkshire East heats with wood cut from the ski area - this replaces our fuel oil burners.
- Our snow grooming team has upgraded its grooming fleet to use larger snow groomers that push and groom more efficiently.
- Replaced all of our 400 night skiing lights with hyper efficient LED bulbs on remote radio connections so they can be turned off as needed.
- Replaced all interior lights and other low hanging energy hogs with more energy efficient replacements.
- Replaced snowmaking pumps with more efficient alternatives and motors with Variable Frequency Drive-controlled motors that improve the efficiency of our system while enabling more snowmaking capacity.
- Built a top-of-the-mountain snowmaking pond to have available water at the summit, so we can make snow on several additional trails by only using low-powered pumps.
Why Renewable Energy at Berkshire East?
Why power a ski area with renewable energy? It’s a way to stabilize our electrical expense for the next 30 years. In 5 years, we have seen an ROI based on the concept of avoided cost. By stabilizing our expenses, we can provide our guests a better on-hill experience by spending money on the fun stuff, like more snowmaking, mountain bike trails, rafting, and mountain coasters, instead of the power company’s pocket.
Berkshire East has a signed agreement with Nature and People First, a company pioneering the development of Micro Pump Storage solutions
- A pump storage facility uses water as an energy storage system by pumping water up when there is excess capacity in the electrical grid (i.e. when its cheap), we will be able to drain that water through turbines and produce power when the price of power is expensive.
- Just think of it as a really big, non-toxic, renewable battery.
- Pump storage (and all storage devices) have a net loss of power. However, this is a pretty basic, clean alternative to the majority of options on the market that rely on rare earth minerals or toxic chemicals and are prone to fires, etc.
Wind Turbine and Solar Field Tour
Our Wind Turbine and Solar Field Tour includes a visit to our wind turbine site and our 10-acre solar field where your guide will provide you with detailed information, generate a discussion, and answer questions about our wind turbine, solar field, and any other questions regarding our sustainable energy practices. The Wind Turbine and Solar Field Tour includes some moderate hiking of approximately 1.5 miles to and from the sites. Transportation to the top of the mountain and down will be available via chairlift and/or shuttle van. The Wind Turbine and Solar Field Tour lasts approximately 2½ hours. You must be at least age 8 years old to take this tour.
Cost is $20 per person and reservations are required. Full payment is expected at the time of reservation. Participants will be required to sign an Event Waiver when checking in. A parent or guardian will need to sign for participants under the age of 18.