On October 21, Conanicut Marine Services, Inc. welcomed Governor Lincoln D. Chafee, community leaders, and members of the public to its Taylor Point boat yard to see the unveiling of a new addition to the yard that has transformed this Jamestown company into a leader in environmental stewardship for the Rhode Island marine trades. Attendees saw their first glimpse of 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% solar power to the 10-acre Taylor Point yard; it will also provide power to the National Grid under the Rhode Island Distributed Generation Program, thereby saving a significant amount of fossil fuel over the years to come.
Conanicut Marine Services also received its Clean Marina designation from the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council on October 21. The statewide Clean Marina Program is designed to reward marinas that go beyond regulatory requirements by applying innovative pollution-prevention best management practices in their day-to-day operations.
According to Conanicut Marine Services President Bill Munger, factoring the environment into business decisions has been a part of the marina’s way of operating since the company 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 — 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 company, 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 searched for a way for the sunlight exposure on those sheds to be tapped, he met Anthony Baro of E2SOL, a firm with U.S. offices in East Greenwich (R.I.) 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 Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management.
Coit will be speaking at the event on October 21, along with Governor Chafee, Conanicut Marine Services President Bill Munger, and E2SOL Co-Founder Anthony Baro.
CEO of the Rhode Island Marine Trades Association Wendy Mackie looks at the October 21 event at the Taylor Point yard 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 to see what can be possible with an environmentally conscious mindset.”