Vermont Solar Energy 2012

Timely Update to Our NASS Post Below:

Renewable Energy Bill Gets Last Minute Overhaul – Anne Galloway / May 3rd

“The Shumlin administration wants 75 percent of the state’s power to come from renewables by 2032. Electricity from Hydro-Quebec would account for 40 percent of that total.” At NASS we would love to see consumers jump on the energy independence bandwagon and say good-bye to negotiated price increases all together long before 2032! Explore our website and you will learn it isn’t as difficult as you may think.

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The “Green “Mountain State Shows Its Colors

VT NASS member Friends of the Sun in Manchester VT installed a pole mount and roof mounted solar pv panels at this home in Southern VT

VT NASS member Friends of the Sun in Manchester VT installed a pole mount and roof mounted solar pv panels at this home in Dorset, VT

A time comes occasionally to put up or shut up. Well, Vermont put up a message recently when the Clean Energy Development Fund and the Vermont Department of Public Service infused an additional 2.8 million dollars in funding into the Vermont Renewable Energy Incentive Program. In addition, some very subtle adjustments were made to the program.

This is another in a series of incentives available to prospective builders of small residential and non residential VT solar energy project builders. It joins net metering and rebate incentives as another available tool when looking at the viability of renewable energy installation.

There was concern among some Vermont citizens as this year opened, that the fund was going to dwindle away. The program was originally established as per Renewable Energy Legislation passed by the Vermont Legislature back in the spring of 2003. Governor Douglas signed it as a law on June 17th of that same year. Money and future were in question by many.

VT NASS member Home Comfort Warehouse installing solar electric panels on new home.

VT NASS member Home Comfort Warehouse installing solar electric panels on new home.

In February of this year additional money was made available and a new iteration of the program was established. It also included an efficiency adder. Modeled after Green Mountain Power’s Solar GMP program, utilities will be required to issue an additional credit on top of the base residential per kWh credit that solar customers already receive. Customers are awarded the per kWh customer credit for a 10 year period. Why? Because the bulk of solar generation is during summer high peak periods, it helps “shave” peak demand and it helps reduce the need to purchase expensive market power. Eligibility for this adder is based on a basic audit completed by an authorized professional and a proper assessment of the insulation status and effective r-value. Solar Hot Water and Solar Electric systems must be interconnected with a net metered system and cannot be portable.

Newly purchased equipment and installed in Vermont are considered qualified systems. Requirements for residential and non residential systems are not different for state funded incentives. So if you are thinking about installing solar panels on your home or business contact one of our qualified NASS Solar Stores in VT.

Vermont also gives local towns the option of offering an exemption from municipal and personal property taxes for certain renewable energy systems. This exemption applies to residential, commercial, industrial, and agricultural sectors. It is important to note that state property taxes still hold. Adoption and implementation of this property tax exemption varies. The exemption applies to the total value of the eligible renewable energy system.

Vermont seems to have a grasp on the idea of incentivizing solar energy implementation and use. What about the permitting? It can be troublesome. Vermont legislators enacted a groundbreaking bill this month that streamlines the installation process for small-scale VT solar installation – including the elimination of time-consuming and expensive permitting. Some estimate that 40 to 50 percent of costs boil down to “soft” costs like permitting, zoning, metering, financing and grid connection set up. The new law states that utilities must approve systems 5-kW and smaller within 10 days of receipt of a registration form and certificate of compliance with grid connection requirements. Before the law was enacted, solar applicants would have to endure a 30-day process. If the project raised concern, it was to be resolved through a public hearing. Many hope that this innovative legislation will spread throughout the country to stabilize and reduce the cost of solar.

Probably the most common form of solar installation for solar power is photovoltaic (PV). The largest new solar farm was just recently brought online in Ferrisburgh. It is a 1 Megawatt system system that generates electric from the sun’s rays. The farm contains 3,806, 93%non reflective panels that generate enough electricity to power 170 homes per year. At the same time, it exists on a farm that maintains its farm like setting, including a barn.

Some local educational institutions like UVM and Middlebury College are now active with solar power as well.

Right now, many Vermont residents are agonizing over fracking and other such environmental issues. Isn’t it nice to know that the “green” mountain state is earning its name with homegrown vermont solar energy?

Vermont Solar Store in Manchester VT

Vermont Solar Store in White River Junction VT

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