Posts Tagged "VT Community Solar"

Selling out already!

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Selling out already!

Construction is again underway in Townshend on another Vermont Community Solar project. Over the winter we drummed up enough interest and support that we are happy to announce this project is already selling out! We could not do this without our local community support. This includes our invaluable Soveren Team that go above and beyond to make these projects possible, our participants who are willing to take a chance on our unique program, and the good old fashioned word of mouth buzz that keeps the wheels turning in any small VT business. We are blessed to be able to continue this work for another installation season. There are many irons in the fire and we are continuously working towards a cleaner, more resilient Vermont. If you have any questions about what we are doing at Soveren or any of our up coming projects, please contact us at info(at)soverensolar(dot)com or use the Contact page. You can also call and talk to a real person at (802) 869-2500. Happy May day!  ...

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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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Welcome to the party CA!

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Welcome to the party CA!

UT San Diego just published an article announcing that California utilities will begin providing the community solar option to residents. This is due to a new program authorization approved yesterday. San Diego Gas and Electric is opening up options for participation in a few solar installations around the city. According to this article, Solar power shines on apartments; renters in California, the San Diego community solar billing system will be set up much like ours in the Green Mountain Power utility in VT. Participants can get up to 100% of their electricity covered by solar, and receive credit from their solar portfolio on their utility bill. There was some skepticism brought up by Mike Florio, the CA state utilities commissioner. He thinks that renters wont bite. Another trepidation, is the complexity of group net metered billing. From our understanding, it takes quite a bit of time for our dear friends in the utility billing department to set up credit for Vermont Community Solar Participants. This is especially true with the rising number of participants -let’s hope they get some reliable assistants soon! However, with community solar on the rise, and more and more people opting out of electricity from fossil fuels, it is an inevitable that renters, home owners and businesses will search out cleaner, more energy efficient options. In turn, we will find more efficient ways to bill group net metered solar. These issues are not games stoppers, and for CA they will be a cake walk. With such a high population, there is no reason that community solar will not be a hit. Welcome to the party California! We can’t wait to see how this turns out.   Below are maps of net metering policies by state. This information was found at the National Conference of State Legislatures website. Click here for more information on Net Metering policies throughout the...

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State of Solar 2015

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State of Solar 2015

In last nights State of the Union address, President Barak Obama laid it all out. It was clear that he is unwilling to make compromises if they undermine the progress we have made. That progress is evident in the fact that, “Every three weeks, we bring online as much solar power as we did in all of 2008…there are also millions of Americans who work in jobs that didn’t even exist ten or twenty years ago…” This speaks directly to the solar industry and the incredible momentum it has gained in the past few years. With this success under our belt, we must look to the future and secure it. Part of that security will be found in renewing the 30% Solar Investment Tax Credit that is set to expire at the end of 2016. This brilliant policy has supported the growth Obama eluded to in his speech and in turn the millions of new jobs that have been made in this booming industry. Obama went on to say that, “21st century businesses need 21st century infrastructure — modern ports, stronger bridges, faster trains and the fastest internet. Democrats and Republicans used to agree on this. So let’s set our sights higher than a single oil pipeline. Let’s pass a bipartisan infrastructure plan that could create more than thirty times as many jobs per year, and make this country stronger for decades to come.” This will only happen if it is supported by the voters and the voters pocket books. We have to continue to prove that laws like the Solar Investment Tax Credit work. This type of restructuring goes beyond party lines to the people and even the Department of Defense. “The Pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security. We should act like it.” There is nothing clearer than the most powerful military in the world saying that the biggest threat we face, is our own addiction to fossil fuels. I paraphrase, but the risks are there. Let’s make sure the incentives stay as well. Before Obama concluded he mentioned that, “In Beijing, we made an historic announcement — the United States will double the pace at which we cut carbon pollution, and China committed, for the first time, to limiting their emissions. And because the world’s two largest economies came together, other nations are now stepping up, and offering hope that, this year, the world will finally reach an agreement to protect the one planet we’ve got.” These are necessary baby steps to get everyone on the same page. However, as citizens we don’t need to convince foreign leaders of growing economies, to limit their emissions. We need to put our money where our mouth is and support the development of a new infrastructure that does not continue to threaten our future, but supports it. Read the whole speech transcript here...

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