Vivint Solar opens up shop in Vermont

Vivint solar

Vermont has big plans for focusing on renewable energy, and Vivint Solar wants in on that future, deciding to enter the state this week.

Vermont ranks No. 2 on the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Clean Energy Momentum State Ranking, and is noted for leading the country in clean energy jobs per capita and for its carbon reduction target. Vermont has committed to attain 90 percent of its energy from renewable energy sources by 2050. Vermont residents who wish to install solar energy systems can currently interconnect to the grid under traditional net metering.

“We applaud Vermont for providing a consistent regulatory environment to help spur renewable growth in this tremendous state,” said David Bywater, CEO of Vivint Solar. “We look forward to becoming the residential solar provider of choice for Vermont residents and helping them start on the path to energy independence.”

Vermont lays out plan for 20 percent solar generation in-state by 2025

Through Vivint Solar, residents in Vermont can purchase a system outright or finance the system with monthly payments, either through one of the institutions Vivint Solar has relationships with or their preferred lender. Customers will also be eligible to apply for any applicable utility-sponsored rebates and federal tax credits.

As part of each sale, Vivint Solar designs and installs the system, allowing customers to enjoy the benefits of affordable, renewable solar energy. Vivint Solar has deep installation expertise, having completed over 100,000 installations throughout the United States.

Vivint Solar now operates in 18 states (Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Vermont) and Washington D.C. The company also plans to relaunch its residential solar energy services in Nevada.

— Solar Builder magazine

Vermont lays out plan for 20 percent solar generation in-state by 2025

vermont solar power

Vermont wants to show other states how it is done when it comes to becoming an advanced solar economy — one in which solar power provides at least 20 percent of total electricity use by 2025.

The goal sounds crazy ambitious but over the last 2 years the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC), with the Department of Public Service and the Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP), has been coordinating and facilitating a stakeholder process to develop a solar plan for Vermont. This plan, known as the Vermont Solar Pathways, lays out how solar can help meet our environmental, energy, and economic goals. This brochure outlines the key findings from the Vermont Solar Pathways report.

These groups report that Vermont has enough land and sunlight to meet 20 percent of electricity needs with solar by 2025. It would only require approximately 0.1% of Vermont’s land area to meet this goal.

Generating enough solar power to provide 20% of electricity will require an estimated 1,000 MW (1 gigawatt) of solar capacity, which is over 5 times the amount of solar installed in Vermont at the end of 2016.

Even longer term, Vermont’s goal is to obtain 90 percent of total energy supply from renewable sources by 2050, as outlined in the state’s Comprehensive Energy Plan (CEP).

Here’s a report on how these goals can be attained.


— Solar Builder magazine

Report calls out flaws in Vermont’s REC policy that have doubled in-state greenhouse gas emissions


Vermont has the reputation of being a progressive solar state, but a report from the Energy Clinic at the Institute for Energy and the Environment (IEE) at Vermont Law School makes the case that all of its solar development hasn’t benefited the state itself all that much. According to the report, despite the recent growth in solar and wind projects, Vermonters’ consumption of energy from solar and wind is 0 percent.

The report also reveals how greenhouse gas emissions in Vermont’s electric sector have approximately doubled over the last decade, despite the rapid development of solar- and wind-generating facilities in the state. The State of Vermont’s policies covering renewable energy certificates (RECs) are responsible for this paradox, according to the report’s authors.

“The sale of RECs out of state resulting from Vermont’s past and current energy policies has contributed to a near doubling in greenhouse gas emissions from Vermont’s electric sector,” said report coauthor Heather Huebner, community solar team leader for the Energy Clinic and a second-year law student at VLS. “This startling outcome from a policy meant to boost clean, renewable energy is proof of why it is so important to better understand RECs, and to get the policies that guide them right.”

RELATED: Solar vs. the state: Net metering, rate battles are heating up around the country 

The Vermont SPEED program, the dominant state renewable energy policy, was designed to increase development of renewable energy in the state, but has actually resulted in an increase in Vermont’s greenhouse gas emissions by incentivizing out-of-state REC sales.

“It is not possible for Vermont to both sell RECs out of state and to meet its ambitious renewable energy goals,” said Gregg Freeman, report coauthor and third-year law student. “These goals will only be achieved if existing and future policies encourage the retirement of RECs in Vermont.”

Newly proposed net metering rules by the Public Service Board discourage Vermont net-metering customers from retaining and retiring the RECs associated with their solar projects and will likely lead to reduced solar development in Vermont. Vermont net-metering customers who retain and retire their RECs can legally “go solar” and reduce their own carbon footprint.

“As explained in the report, retaining and retiring the RECs is the only way that Vermonters can go solar,” said report coauthor Aaron Kelly, a Master of Energy Regulation and Law (MERL) student at VLS and Energy Clinic community solar team member.

The Vermont Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Energy is currently considering how to address RECs in future energy policies. The report is being presented to the committee at the request of its chairman, Sen. Christopher Bray, D-Addison.

The report, prepared by Freeman, Huebner and Kelly, recommends changes to Vermont’s net-metering and utility policies as they concern RECs. Policy recommendations include:

• Prohibiting the out-of-state sale of RECs from net-metering projects given that Vermont pays a premium for this power and should claim the renewable energy and greenhouse gas reduction benefits;
• Allowing Vermont net-metering customers to retain and retire RECs from home and community solar arrays without financial penalty; and,
•Modifying Vermont’s Renewable Energy Standard to phase in retirement of RECs from Vermont utility SPEED resources.

Professor Kevin B. Jones, deputy director of the IEE and Energy Clinic supervisor, worked with the student clinicians on the research. An expert in RECs and net-metering policy, Jones said, “to meet Vermont’s ambitious renewable energy goals, we have to be able to count the solar and wind projects developed here in the state. The sale of RECs out of state makes that impossible. Any policy that allows for such sales makes it harder and harder to achieve these legislated goals. And in the meantime, more and more of the state’s best solar and wind sites are being developed to meet the RPS [renewable portfolio standard] goals in Massachusetts and Connecticut.”

Click here to view the full report.

— Solar Builder magazine

Vermont finishes 5th solar project at state corrections facility

All Earth Renewables

A 500 kW solar net metering project was completed at the Southern State Correctional Facility, the fifth of seven state correctional facilities to be powered by solar. The project is part of an initiative the Governor announced in September 2013 to deploy 5 MW of solar power that will increase the state’s use of renewable energy while saving taxpayers on state energy costs.

“This is a perfect example of how we do renewable energy in Vermont,” said Gov. Shumlin. “Local solar that powers our public buildings all while creating and supporting local jobs. I’m so proud of the state for leading by example.”

The project at the Southern State Correctional Facility is using solar trackers made by AllEarth Renewables of Williston, Vt., and the trackers feature local components, including electrical boards manufactured by PCM Image-Tek of Springfield, less than 3 miles from the project site.

RELATED: AllEarth Renewables intros new L20 tracker

“As a local manufacturer, it’s great to have work within Vermont’s growing solar industry and even more rewarding to see the results of our work powering a project just down the road. We see a bright future in Vermont’s solar sector,” said PCM-ImageTek President Mike Hathaway.

“We are pleased to continue making progress on this initiative and to be helping the state save taxpayer money, create good local jobs, and keep electric costs down while producing Vermont-made solar energy,” said Andrew Savage, Chief Strategy Officer at AllEarth Renewables. “With manufacturing and supply partners for our locally made tracker around the state like PCM Image-Tek, projects like this show first-hand the role of the Vermont solar industry creating jobs and adding value to the state.”

Upon completion, the state solar initiative will save taxpayers more than $2.5 million in energy costs over twenty years with no state investment, while producing over 7 million kilowatt hours per year of clean Vermont-made solar electricity.

The Renewable Energy Credits for all State projects are all being retained and retired in-state.
SolarSense, the specialty solar division of Alternative Energy Development Group, provided the financing for the projects, and owns and operates several of the State projects.

— Solar Builder magazine

AET Rayport-G ECO Ground Mount System Installed at Solar Plant in Vermont

AETBRATTLEBORO, Vermont – Applied Energy Technologies, a preferred supplier of commercial and utility-scale racking systems and one of the top 10 solar racking companies in the United States, is pleased to announce that its Rayport-G ECO racking system was installed to support a 2 MW solar project in Vermont.

AET was selected by REC Solar, a national provider of comprehensive commercial solar and energy solutions, for the project which provides enough solar energy to power the equivalent of 450 local homes annually. The system consists of more than 15,000 posts and more than 8,000 modules.