Orford Install

Solar Expo in Lebanon 4/1

Solar Installers Expo

Hosted by the Plainfield, Cornish, Lebanon, and Enfield Energy Committees
Saturday, April 1 at 2 pm
Kilton Library at 80 Main Street in West Lebanon

(Contact mary.n.boyle@gmail.com for more information and to RSVP)

Act now before Net Metering Tariffs change
(and PV Solar electricity becomes more expensive)

  • Find out more about PV solar installation options
  • Talk with members from area Energy Committees
  • Have your questions answered by experts from local solar installation companies
  • Sign up for site visits
  • Learn about DIY options

 

Why Weatherize?

Many thanks to our friends at CATV and Emily Gardner for helping our Hartford Weatherize volunteer team film this hilarious video explaining why YOU should participate in Weatherize Upper Valley.

- Randolph Team PictureSince Weatherize Upper Valley kicked off in early January, we’ve seen a surge of interest from residents across all fourteen participating towns. Over 130 people attended our kick off events across the region, and we now have over 280 residents signed up to get involved.

Most of those 280+ participants are now in the process of filling out a Home Energy Profile, which will then be sent to the participating contractor(s) of their choice, who will then provide a free at-home consult and proposed scope of work… FREE OF CHARGE.

It’s not too late to sign up! Learn More at VitalCommunities.org/Weatherize.

NHSaves_400x400

Upgrade with NH Saves

DID YOU KNOW….

Liberty Utilities, and other NHSaves electric utilities, are offering rebates to NH-based Retail and Large Commercial customers who upgrade their old heating systems to a new high efficiency system. The program also offers rebates up to 35% of the project cost for weatherization (air sealing and insulation). NHSaves approved vendors can perform free energy analysis for businesses along with the installation of free energy savings improvements. These free analyses will help identify energy savings opportunities and help you drive down your energy costs. Businesses are welcome to select a contractor of their choice if they choose to complete the recommended improvements. Here is an example of just some of the program offerings:

  • Free: Energy Analysis
  • Free: Low flow spray valves, shower heads, aerators and hot water pipe insulation
  • $1,000 to $10,000 Rebate for high efficient oil or propane boilers
  • 35% Rebate for weatherization projects

All projects are for buildings using propane or oil only and must be pre-approved. Incentives are limited so contact us today. Please use the contact information below for Liberty Utilities’ customers. This program is valid in all NH utility territories (Eversource, Liberty Utilities, NH Electric Co-op, and Unitil).

nhsaves.com/save-work/retrofits

Go Solar in 2016

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.

Bob Walker
Chair, Thetford Energy Committee
Thetford Center, VT

9th Annual Roundtable May 3

The 9th Annual
Upper Valley Energy Committee Roundtable

Porter Community Room
Montshire Museum, Norwich, VT
Tuesday, May 3, 2016 | 5–8 p.m.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER
(event is free and includes a buffet dinner)

We look forward to seeing you at our favorite event of the year – a gathering of dozens of local energy volunteers from across the Upper Valley.

If you’ve attended the Roundtable in years past, you know this event is part family reunion, part support group, and part learning session. Come ready to be refreshed and inspired!

This year’s agenda:

​5:00 – Dinner and conversation

5:30 – Welcome and introductions, followed by our longstanding tradition of two-minute updates from each energy committee, along with updates from Vital Communities and other groups who provide support for energy committees year-round.

7:00 – Panel on local energy policy. Many towns are working to implement local energy policy this year, so we’ll be showcasing creative local energy policies related to solar siting, permit review, municipal projects, and more. Stay tuned for details.

8:00 – Clean up and go home

See you in May!

– Your Roundtable Organizing Committee

  • Sarah Simonds and Bob Walker, Vital Communities
  • Leigh Cameron, New England Grassroots Environment Fund
  • Ben Civiletti and Johanna Miller, Vermont Energy and Climate Action Network
  • Mike McCrory, Upper Valley Lake Sunapee Regional Planning Commission
  • Dan Potter, Southern Windsor County Regional Planning Commission
  • Chris Sargent and Dee Gish, Two Rivers Ottaquechee Regional Commission
Bob Walker and Sarah Simonds

Big News: SERG Joins Vital Communities

Big news from the Vital Communities Energy Program:
Sustainable Energy Resource Group (SERG) is merging into Vital Communities.

The Sustainable Energy Resounce Group (SERG) is an Upper Valley nonprofit with a strong legacy of local energy action in the Upper Valley. Since its founding in 2002, SERG has pioneered many innovative local energy projects that have since been replicated throughout the Northeast.

After 14 years as an independent nonprofit organization, we are thrilled to announce that SERG has decided to combine forces with Vital Communities’ growing Energy Program. Vital Communities and SERG have been close allies since Vital Communities first began work on energy issues in 2009, collaborating on many projects and working together to support our region’s expanding network of town energy committees. In combining our two programs we are confident we can accomplish more together than we ever could on our own.

Just a few highlights from the long list of SERG accomplishments over the past 14 years:

  • Established the first town energy committees in Vermont and New Hampshire in 2002 (there are now more than 200 across both states)
  • Inspired and helped develop the “Button Up” weatherization workshop series that has been presented dozens of times throughout the Upper Valley
  • Led an effort that tripled the number of weatherized homes in Thetford in one year, and helped launch a Vermont Home Energy Challenge to get other towns to do the same
  • Created an online resource library and e-newsletter to help residents in the Upper Valley improve their energy footprints
  • Organized and hosted dozens of public forums on everything from solar hot water to electric vehicles

Read our summary for more detail about SERG’s work, plus some of our plans for the future.

In the coming year, SERG Founder and Executive Director Bob Walker will work directly with Vital Communities as a consultant and mentor to ensure a strong transition.

We’re seeking partners and supporters in this exciting transition – make a gift today to support Vital Communities in carrying forward SERG’s legacy of inspiring sustainable energy action in the Upper Valley.

The move will be official as of January 1, and we’re planning a big old party in February to celebrate SERG’s accomplishments and kick off our exciting new work together. Stay tuned!

Have questions, comments, or well wishes? Email Sarah@VitalCommunities.com.

 

 

VCRD_Conference

VT Climate Economy Summit Feb. 22

Register Today for Vermont Council on Rural Development’s
Vermont Climate Economy Summit: IDEAS TO ACTION
February 22, 2016 | Vermont Technical College in Randolph

The Vermont Council on Rural Development will host the second Summit on Vermont’s Climate Economy at Vermont Technical College in Randolph on February 22, 2016 to share the action platform of the Vermont Climate Economy Council and frame common ground for action.

VCRD hosted the “Creating Prosperity and Opportunity Confronting Climate Change Summit” in 2015 to launch the Climate Economy initiative, founded the VT Climate Change Economy Council (VCCEC), and gathered input at three statewide public forums this fall. The VCCEC – composed of leaders in business, economic development and the environmental movement – serves as a non-partisan center point for the development of a proactive public policy around this issue. This 2nd Summit will review the findings and platform of the VCCEC, consider how this plan connects to a number of implementation arenas, from city government to business leadership, and then identify strategies to make Vermont a national leader in achieving climate economy business development, innovation and job creation for the future.

Register TODAY! Visit www.vtrural.org/Summit16 for more information on the Climate Economy Initiative and to register to participate in the 2nd Vermont Climate Economy Summit.

Solar Tax Credit Extended

Solar Tax Credit Extended

The number of solar homes in the Upper Valley has doubled since 2013, mainly thanks to Solarize Upper Valley but also thanks to a 30% federal tax credit available to both residential and commercial solar customers. That “Solar Investment Tax Credit” (ITC) has been around since 2006 and was originally set to expire at the end of 2016.

Fortunately for our region’s growing solar industry, congress extended the ITC until 2020 as part of a larger spending bill at the end of December 2015. The ITC extension allows homeowners and businesses to claim up to 30% of the cost of a solar project as an income or corporate income tax credit.

Since the ITC was implemented in 2006, annual solar installation in the U.S. has grown over 1,600%. Over the last year, concerns over the looming ITC deadline have plagued the solar market locally and across the U.S. The ITC extension is expected to result in around 25 gigawatts (GW) of capacity above what would be installed without the extension. This represents a total of 100 GW of solar electric capacity, enough to power 20 million U.S. homes or 3.5% of all U.S. electricity in 2020.

The ITC extension also provides market certainty for the next five years, which encourages companies to invest in long-term projects and lowers costs for consumers. Resulting increases in solar manufacturing will likely lower equipment costs and increase demand for solar project installations.

After 2020, the ITC will phase down gradually until 2022. Construction beginning in 2020 or 2021 would receive a 26 percent or 22 percent credit, respectively. Without the new deal, the ITC would have plunged down to a 10% tax credit for any solar project completed after 2016.

The new bill also includes a “commence construction clause” where the credit is extended to solar projects as long as they have started development before the 2020 deadline. As a result, new solar projects will not need to dramatically rush to finish construction in order to qualify for the tax credits.

What does the ITC mean for you?

The 30% tax credit means that if you invest in a solar project, you can write off one third of each solar project’s installation cost as a dollar-for-dollar reduction in the income taxes that a person or you or your company would otherwise pay to the federal government.

What does this mean for the Upper Valley?

The exponential growth of solar projects in Vermont and New Hampshire is directly related to the ITC tax break. Vermont currently has the most solar jobs per capita in the U.S. with about 1,500 people employed in the state’s solar industry, the production of solar power employs about 1,500 people. Many of those jobs are in the Upper Valley. Click here to see a list of solar installers in our region.

What else was in that ITC bill in December?

The ITC extension was part of a compromise among congressional leaders. In exchange for the solar and wind tax extensions, Congress revoked a 40-year ban on exporting oil from the US.

For information on how to go solar, visit VitalCommunities.org/Energy/Solarize-Resources

Soveren Solar

Central Vermont Solar Forum November 2015

Central Vermont Solar Forum – November 21, 2015

Town energy committees from central Vermont came together on November 21 in Randolph, Vermont to learn about and discuss solar power development, siting problems, and solar project types. The forum focused on how to best expand solar electrical generation in the region on a community scale. Many thanks to the Randolph Energy Committee and Vermont Technical College for hosting the event, and to the many presenters and participants whose thoughts and questions gave us all much to think about.

Presenters included community solar activists, solar developers, solar technical and legal experts, local community leaders, and the Vermont Public Service Board will present information at this forum. The day’s agenda is linked below along with slides from the day’s presenters (not every presenter used slides).

Introduction (agenda) (introduction slides)

Solar Developer Panel

Solar Influencers Panel

Contact Pete Thoenen of the Randolph Energy Committee with questions related to this forum: call 802-477-3189 or email randolph.home.energy@gmail.com

 

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