Guest Post by Bob Walker
Go Solar 2016
Going solar in 2016 make $ense as it typically costs 10% to 14% less than utility power and pays for itself in 7 to 10 years, while the systems are guaranteed to generate power for 25 years. In many cases, good financing can even result in energy savings higher than loan payments, meaning you start saving money from day one. However, the Vermont Public Service Board has just adopted new rules, adjusting the state’s solar “adder” – a financial credit for every kilowatt-hour your system generates – that will reduce solar savings between 1.6% and 53.8%, depending on where your system is located and whether or not you retain the Renewable Energy Credits, beginning in 2017. A full description of the new ruling and how it affects rates can be found in the “Order” and “Attachment” at http://psb.vermont.gov/statutesrulesandguidelines/proposedrules/rule5100.
But the solar adder for anyone installing solar or joining a community array by the end of 2016 will be grandfathered in for 10 years at the more favorable rates in effect when the system was installed. That is, if you go solar this year, you will continue to get the higher value solar credit available under today’s rules, even after the new rules go into effect in 2017. For those whose homes are not well situated for solar or who don’t want the solar panels on or near your home, you can also get the benefits of going solar by joining a community solar array. Most of the solar contractors operating in Vermont still have time to either install a system on your home or get you into one of their community solar arrays before the end of the year. But you need to act soon, as they are getting very busy as the end of the year deadline approaches. You can find a list of contractors installing solar power in Vermont at www.REVermont.org.
So, if you have been considering putting solar on your house or joining a community solar array, do it this year so you can save money and begin relying on local, clean, renewable power.
Chair, Thetford Energy Committee
Thetford Center, VT