Massachusetts Ski Resort Runs Completely on Solar & Wind

Wind and solar are making all the difference for a small family business in Massachusetts – their ski business is the world’s first to run completely on clean energy.

The ski industry is one of the first to visibly suffer from climate change as there’s less reliable snow in recent years. Making their own snow is quite energy intensive, but beyond that, energy is their biggest cost after labor.

Berkshire East Ski Area is a year-round resort that now gets all its power from a 900 kilowatt (kW) wind turbine installed in 2011, which produces 1.4 million kilowatt hours (kWh) a year, and the addition of its new 500 kW solar farm, expected to produce 700,000 kWh a year.  

"We view on-site renewable as a hedge against the rising price of power," says owner Jon Schaefer.  "Energy is our largest non-labor expense and it’s the one thing we are most dependent on beyond the snow."

The business hosts over 100,000 skiers a year and has six lifts and two lodges.

Solar Tracker

90 dual-axis AllSun Trackers, manufactured by AllEarth Renewables in Vermont, are controlled via GPS and wireless technology, positioning over 2,000 solar panels to track the sun throughout the day. That boosts electrical production by up to 45% over standard solar panels.

Sustainable Energy Development Inc. of Ontario, NY developed the project, choosing the trackers and creating a system that can withstand harsh climates.

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Comments on “Massachusetts Ski Resort Runs Completely on Solar & Wind”

  1. patagondog

    luv it. we should push more projects like these not only to protect our environment but also the think about the real costs of our reliance on oil for energy or other non renewable energies!

  2. Maggie Connor

    Way to go Berkshire East. First ski area to take seriously the growing need to be free of relying on foreign oil, while reducing functioning expenses at the same time as preserving precious natural resources! Jon Schaefer I wish you and the Berkshire East family much continued success in the years ahead. Maggie Connor – Olympian (freestyle skiing) from Massachusetts.


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