Posts Tagged "financing"

PV America Award

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PV America Award

On Monday we were recognized by PV America as having a “Project of Distinction”. This project is the Vermont Community Solar project in Brattleboro, VT: Soveren Community Solar 1. It was recognized for its dedication to local labor and financing, as well as its working relationship with two organizations in Brattleboro, the Vermont Agricultural Business Education Center and Brattleboro Savings & Loan. Without the support of these organizations, this project would not have been possible. Also, thank you to PV America for the chance to bring Vermont Community Solar to a wider audience.                   Read the Press Release here....

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FTC Won’t Investigate GMP

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In the past few years Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) have become a heated topic in Vermont. So much so, that it peaked the interest of Vermont Law School (VLS) and elicited a letter from the Vermont Attorney General. If you have been following the story about the sale of RECs within Green Mountain Power (GMP) territory, this update will be of interest to you. According to a February 10th article in Times Argus, The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) decided not to investigate GMPs marketing of RECs, but said that communication to the public should remain clear. [A GMP Press Release from September 19th 2014 is available here] Kevin Jones, a VLS professor was not happy with these results. Last year VLS challenged GMP handling of their RECs, and specifically aimed this criticism towards Vermont’s SPEED law saying that, “From an environmental and electric rate (perspective), the SPEED program has been a failure”. Kristen Carlson, a GMP representative, addressed this issue by bringing to light that the sale of RECs allows for clean energy to be bought at a lower price. Thus boosting the sale of clean energy and allowing Vermont to become a leader in clean energy production. Rates are in fact lowered through the out-of-state sale of RECs. In turn the environment has greater protection through financial support, not greater pollution. [More about GMP on RECs can be found here] As the issue became more public, it morphed into a criticism of the definition of “credit”. While companies that sell energy from renewable sources such as wind, solar, and hydro are creating renewable energy, they are selling the “credits”. Thus, selling the right to call them renewable. This is no way negates the fact that these energy sources are in fact creating energy from a source that has renewable attributes, only that the jargon used, must reflect the credit exchange. In essence, this is what the issue has boiled down to. Meanwhile, those of us installing solar and wind generators in Vermont are happy to sell RECs out of state, to insure that Vermont resident’s get lower clean energy rates and that our environment is protected for future generations. Maybe we use “clean energy” instead of “renewable energy”, but the effects are the same. On Thursday a letter was sent from the FTC to a GMP lawyer saying, “Although no findings have been made that these claims [made by VLS] violate the law, we urge GMP in the future to prevent any confusion by clearly communicating the implications of its REC sales for Vermont customers and REC purchasers.” To this end, we attempt to clarify the issues here and educate our Vermont Community Solar participants on the function of RECs. Read the entire article...

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Financing Vermont Community Solar

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Financing Vermont Community Solar

    Even though we are in a sweet spot for solar right now, solar panels are a big ticket item. You are buying the ability to generate your own power for what could be more than 50 years! This is big. The cost for such an endeavor can be overwhelming. With Vermont Community Solar we have found a way for it to be completely affordable for anyone who already pays an electric bill. This means if you pay for electricity right now, you can afford to go solar. Of course paying the relatively low upfront cost, brings you an immediate return on your investment. However, we partner with a Credit Union that has been giving out loans to people secured only by the solar panels they buy. This works because solar panels create a valuable commodity, electricity.  People need electricity, therefore they will usually pay their electric bill to ensure the lights stay on. If someone decides to finance with Green Mountain Credit Union, their electric bill would be replaced by a loan payment. If that individual were to default on their loan, they would simply start receiving an electric bill again. The bank would then start collecting the solar credits instead of the individual. In this partnership we have figured out a way to make the loan payment about the same as your current electric bill. There are different plans for different situations, but the qualifying rate has been high. If you are interested in the financing option available through Green Mountain Credit Union, please contact our Loan Officer there: Matt Wilson Green Mountain CU 802-776-1142 matt(at)greenmountaincu(dot)com...

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Economics: The guiding force in Solar clean energy

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Economics: The guiding force in Solar clean energy

                    At the beginning of last month an article was published in CleanTechnica entitled Citigroup: Solar’s Global Outlook has Improved. This was another publication speaking to the force of economics in the clean energy market. Because, it is, and becoming more so, a free market force. Large economies such as China, Japan, the UK and US are all feeling the force of this economic and environmental innovation. Fuel for these statements come from a study that Citigroup put out called Energy 2020: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised as Disruptors Multiply. Micheal Mariotte also writes about it in Green World and quotes the study saying: Moving forward, we believe global solar growth will be driven by economics, fuel diversity and emerging financing vehicles as well as some country specific legislative overlay. Moreover, this growth looks set to continue for the long term, as solar takes an ever greater share of energy generation, helped by improving economics against fossil fuels. (more information about this study can be found at GreenTechMedia) This is a study that has gained momentum and is peaking industry interest as well as the interest of economies around the world. Gas prices can shift with solar. This becomes obvious as more and more investors switch to renewables. Beyond the environmental need for clean energy, economies are looking to hedge against the volatility of gas prices. Therefore the diversification into the clean energy sector is step toward a more stable economic future for energy. As solar costs fall and technical efficiency rises, banks are beginning to find easier ways to finance. This is obvious in Vermont Community Solar’s partnership with Green Mountain Credit Union and VSECU. They are pushing the solar industry forward by supplying loans to people secured by only the panels. No home equity need by tied up by what may seem like another big ticket item. The Credit Union see that solar equity is a stable investment. This is because PV panels will keep producing electricity even if the owner of the panel defaults on the loan. The credits can still accrue without inflation. Unlike electric rates which inflate at even a higher rate than the dollar. What this study by Citigroup highlights is that Green Mountain Credit Union is not alone in this sort of thinking. Investment in solar has never looked so good. This is true both in a green energy mind set as well as a stabilizing economic force. The full Citigroup report can be found...

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