Vermont non-profit organizes community solar customers

Hoping to make it easier for homeowners to get their electricity from the sun, a Vermont consumer group announced plans on September 23, 2010 for a “solar communities” program under which it will partner with solar panel manufacturers and installers to offer discounts on installations.

The Vermont Public Interest Research Group program will bundle incentives offered by government and by private companies and offer the price breaks by organizing clusters of interested consumers, reducing the installers’ costs in traveling around to erect rooftop solar panels and lawn arrays.

“We’ve heard time and time again that our neighbors want to get their energy from renewable sources,” said Duane Peterson, president of VPIRG’s board. “It’s hard for most people to figure out on their own: how to pick the right installer, choose the equipment, arrange financing and secure permitting. So we wanted to help.”

Under the program, VPIRG will link consumers who are interested with companies with whom the consumer group has negotiated discounts. The nonprofit VPIRG, in turn, will share in proceeds from sales to cover its expenses.

Accounting for government incentives, a premium offered by Green Mountain Power Corp. and an initial deposit, the cost of paying off the cost of solar panels on a home could be as low as $85 a month for 10 years, as compared with a typical $66-a-month electric bill, Peterson said.

Source: The Boston Globe


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