The historic Church Street building housing Leunig’s Bistro is about to get a modern touch. According to owner Robert Fuller, later this year or early in 2010, Building Energy of Williston will install six rows of eight solar panels each on the roof.
The photovoltaic system will supply 20 percent of the building’s power. Fuller says he’s been concerned about global warming “ever since I saw Al Gore’s movie.” So he’s made a hefty initial investment of $200,000 — one that, he admits, won’t yield payback for at least 10 years, “even with incentives.” (Those include Vermont’s feed-in tariffs, which became law on May 27, 2009, and state and federal tax credits.) For now, Fuller’s just hoping to counter climate change while serving up cocktails. He calls his panels, whose power will not go directly to the building but be metered at Burlington Electric, “a reasonable way to nick away at this problem.”