From design/build schools to breweries and social entrepreneurs, AllEarth Renewables is proud to have helped innovative businesses and individuals across the northeast generate their own power from the sun. Our Renewable Revolutionaries video series goes behind the scenes to profile iconic brands and people that are pioneering a sustainable future for us all.
Berkshire East Ski Resort is proud to be the world’s first ski resort to be totally powered by renewables. Located in Charlemont, MA., the mountain has been in the Schaefer family since 1975. Roy Schaefer originally purchased the land, and today the resort is run by his son Jon Schaefer, co-owner of Berkshire East. What started as a small operation with only a few tow-ropes now services over 150,000 skiers and snowboarders each year. Berkshire is a family-owned business that boasts of being “a little less corporate, and a little more local.”
As the Schafer’s expanded their business, their concerns about climate change and unpredictable energy costs grew. They discovered that electricity usage was their most flexible cost, as it fluctuated depending on current energy prices and the weather conditions.
The solution was to turn to renewable energy. The Schaefers needed to get the most potential energy out of a small amount of land, which made AllEarth Solar Trackers the perfect solution. In 2013, Berkshire East installed a 500kW solar array using 90 Series-24 AllEarth Solar Trackers. Paired with a 900kW wind turbine installed the previous year, these renewable resources account for the ski area’s entire annual electric demand.
"There's a lot of fun stuff you can do when you aren't tied to your power bill on a monthly or annual basis."
Investing in renewable energy helped Berkshire East to improve their business. “There’s a lot of fun stuff you can do when you aren’t tied to your power bill on a monthly or annual basis,” says Jon Schaefer. From ziplining and whitewater rafting to new ski lifts and snow making upgrades, their energy savings allow them to expand and flourish, while reducing their carbon footprint and keeping their energy local.
To learn more about the Renewable Revolutionaries series, and to watch other episodes, please visit the Renewable Revolutionaries page.