2013-10-17 / News

Boat yard on display Monday

Gov. Chafee will be in town to commend local initiative

Conanicut Marine Services will welcome Gov. Lincoln Chafee to its Taylor Point boat yard to see the unveiling of a new addition that has transformed the company into a leader in environmental stewardship for the Rhode Island marine trades.

Attendees will get their first glimpse at the yard’s new solar photovoltaic system and its operation, which is the largest renewable energy facility to be developed in the state’s marine trades to date. The system will not only provide 100 percent solar power to the 10-acre Taylor Point yard, it will also provide power to National Grid under the state’s distributedgeneration program, saving a significant amount of fossil fuel over the years to come.

The unveiling takes place on Monday, Oct. 21, at the Taylor Point boat yard. The public is welcome. Doors open at 8 a.m.

Conanicut Marine Services will also be designated as a clean marina by the Coastal Resources Management Council. The statewide program is designed to reward marinas that go beyond regulatory requirements by applying innovative pollution-prevention practices to their day-to-day operations.

According to Bill Munger, owner of the marina, factoring the environment into business decisions has been a part of the company’s way of operating since it was founded.

“My wife and I founded the business in 1974, and we’ve built it shingle by shingle all these years,” said Munger. “But as we’ve grown we’ve always had an environmentally conscious mindset, and we’ve tried to do the right thing in the boating world.”

The photovoltaic system is the most recent in a long line of innovations used at the marina, including systems to protect both air and water quality.

The Taylor Point yard – the company’s inland facility that complements its waterfront marina and chandlery – has four boat sheds, two of which face south. When Munger went in search of a way the sunlight exposure on those sheds could be tapped, he met Anthony Baro of E2SOL, a firm in East Greenwich that develops projects related to wind, solar and microhydro power.

E2SOL designed a system that utilizes the roof space on each of the two south-facing sheds, which are both 210 feet long, and coordinated with several local professionals on the installation. The 128-kilowatt solar array will save nearly 4,000 tons of greenhouse gas over the next 25 years, the equivalent of roughly 7.4 million automobile miles.

“Conanicut Marine Services is an important leader in the marine community and offers an outstanding example for other marinas to follow by employing renewable energy and green practices in their operations,” said Janet Coit, director of the state Department of Environmental Management.

Coit will speak at the event, along with Chafee, Munger and Baro.

Wendy Mackie, CEO of the Rhode Island Marine Trades Association, looks at the event as a great learning opportunity for the local community and other business owners.

“The health of the outdoor environment is critical to our industry, and to our lives here in the Ocean State,” said Mackie. “I hope many business owners in Rhode Island will attend this event, to learn and see what can be possible with an environmentally conscious mindset.”

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