Berkshire East, the diminutive ski area in Massachusetts' Berkshire Mountains with 1180 vertical feet, has become the first ski area in North America, and quite possibly the world, to satisfy 100% of its electricity needs with on-site renewable energy. The family-owned ski area just finished up a 500 kilowatt solar panel "farm" that features 90 solar panels on rotating fixtures that follow the sun, which apparently sap way more juice from our star than standard roof-mounted panels that don't move. This solar farm, combined with the 900 kilowatt wind turbine mounted at the top of the mountain in 2011, now provide 100% of the ski area's electricity needs.
The biggest surprise might be that the ski area didn't choose to build the Vermont-constructed solar panels just to stock up on green brownie points. Instead, the mountain is doing it as a hedge against future power costs. "Energy is our largest non-labor expense and it's the one thing we are most dependent on beyond the snow," said Assistant GM Jon Schaefer. While the Berkshires may not be an obvious ski destination, both Berkshire East and nearby Jiminy Peak - who also has a huge wind turbine on-site - are leading on the ski area energy front.
· Berkshire East ski resort is world's first to generate all electric onsite [Clean Energy Authority]