Solarize 2.0 for Cornish, Plainfield, and neighbors

The Energy Committees in Cornish and Plainfield led a Solarize Campaign in 2014 and helped over 20 homes go solar. Now they’re back for a second round and they’re happy to help ANYONE go solar!

Join this inspiring group of volunteers to learn more:

Are You Ready for Solar?
February 18, 7:00pm at the Plainfield (NH) Library

Learn the essentials about…

  • How solar works
  • Installation Options, including Do-it-yourself
  • What you need to know to go solar
  • Costs/incentives/payback

Learn from your neighbors’ experiences…

  • What were their reasons for going solar?
  • How are their systems performing?

Learn how we can work together to…

  • Conserve natural resources
  • Reduce our global carbon footprint
  • Affect climate change
  • Save money

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 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

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


Energy Leaders – Register Now: Vermont’s Energy Transformation

Calling all community energy leaders: VECAN’s 8th Annual Vermont Community Energy and Climate Action Conference is coming right up!

December 5, 2015 – 9 am to 5 pm
Lake Morey Inn – Fairlee, Vermont

REGISTER TODAY! This inspiring conference emphasizes clean energy and climate action strategies that Vermonters can help implement locally — and beyond. Find out far more and register.

The theme of the day is: A Common Agenda: Transforming Vermont’s Energy Future. The day is aimed at supporting and growing the statewide network of town energy committees and building the capacity and expertise of any Vermonter interested in helping the state meet its ambitious but essential goal of getting 90 percent of our energy in 2050 through renewable sources.

Workshops range from seizing solar in 2016 to the legislative look forward, from pioneering rural transportation solutions to measuring, assessing, and prioritizing energy action – and many more timely, informative sessions. Each workshop is aimed at building the expertise and capacity of grassroots energy leaders…and building the kind of broad, diverse public support for needed energy and climate action.

The keynote is can’t miss! Richard Heinberg – a Senior Fellow at the Post Carbon Institute – will keynote the conference. Mr. Heinberg is a widely regarded author, educator and energy and peak oil expert. He has authored scores of essays and articles that have appeared in such journals as Nature, The American Prospect, Public Policy Research, Quarterly Review, The Ecologist, The Futurist, European Business Review, Yes! and The Sun; and on web sites such as, and

The conference also offers unparalleled networking opportunities, both with local energy leaders and Vermont’s leading clean energy businesses, organizations, institutions and state agency partners who generously help make this day possible.

Register today. Early registration prices end November 22!

For more information, contact Ben Civiletti, AmeriCorps Member, Community Energy and Climate Action Coordinator, VECAN and VNRC
: 802-223-2328 ext. 118 –

Presentation: Animals of the North & Climate Change

Kids and the curious of all ages won’t want to miss wildlife expert Sue Morse’s program, Animals of the North & Climate Change.

Saturday, Nov. 21, 2 pm
Trumbull Hall, Etna

Sue’s knowledge and intimate photographic images of the wildlife of northern New England are legendary. Free and open to the public.

Co-sponsored with the Etna Library, the Hanover Conservancy, and Sierra Club Upper Valley Group.

Free Classroom Energy Workshops in Vermont

The Vermont Energy Education Program (VEEP) will bring one free in-class workshop into any class in Vermont that requests one during the 2015/16 school year (as long as funding lasts). VEEP offers hands-on, experiential science and energy programs for grades K–12. Workshops typically last 45–90 minutes; VEEP educators will work with teachers to tailor the workshop to their class and curriculum focus. See the complete menu of workshops at VEEP’s workshop page.

To schedule your local VEEP educator, please be in touch with VEEP. And pass the word to teachers in your area!

Thanks to Efficiency Vermont for statewide funding for free workshops, with additional support in Burlington from Burlington Electric Department and in southern Vermont from VLITE Foundation. Additional workshops will cost $175, or less if VEEP visits more than one class at your school that day. Additional grants may be available if needed. 

Webinar Nov. 5 at Noon: Low Income Energy Efficiency

Another great webinar from our friends at the New England Grassroots Environment Fund – grab your lunch and tune in:
Energy Efficiency for Low-Income People: The Importance of Grassroots Outreach
Thursday, November 5, 201512:00pm

Some of the most effective strategies to bring energy efficiency programming to low-income people are those that use local, trusted community-based networks. Whether you are working to improve the visibility of a short-term campaign or a long-term program, this webinar will help by providing proven strategies and techniques to reach the hard-to-reach. An overview of some of the best practices will be accompanied by discussions of programs through Efficiency Vermont and the Dunbarton Energy Committee and the successful mechanisms used to bring their messages to low-income people.Presenters:
Elizabeth Chant, VEIC – Elizabeth Chant is a Principal Consultant at Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC), where she focuses on energy efficiency policy and programming for low-income people and multifamily buildings. Most recently, she has been on the VEIC team tasked with developing and implementing a public purpose energy services company, with multifamily affordable housing as a primary market of interest. In 2011, she directed the design, development, and implementation of low-income multifamily services during the launch of the District of Columbia Sustainable Energy Utility (DC SEU).  From 2002 to 2010, Elizabeth was Weatherization Director at Vermont’s largest community action agency, providing weatherization services to single- and multifamily housing throughout northwestern Vermont. Prior to that, she was at VEIC, leading its award-winning multifamily programming from 1997 to 2002. Elizabeth has testified before legislative committees on low-income energy efficiency programming, and she serves on the boards of directors of the Home Performance Coalition, the National Energy and Utility Affordability Coalition, and the National Housing Trust.
Paul Markowitz, Efficiency Vermont – Paul Markowitz is the Community Energy Program Manager with Efficiency Vermont where he promotes partnerships with non-profit organizations, businesses, and municipalities to implement community-based energy efficiency programs. Paul has 32 years experience in energy and environmental project management, community planning, leadership training, and facilitation in non-profit institutions, state government, and academia. He has managed local environmental action programs in Central and Eastern Europe, directed state recycling programs, taught university courses on energy and solid waste policy, and promoted least-cost electrical planning. He has an MS in Resource Economics from the University of Vermont.
Bob Ray, Dunbarton Energy Committee – Bob has a MS Electrical Engineering graduate of Rutgers University with a BSEE from University of Maine. He has extensive project management and system design experience in software systems in telecom companies. He is a founding member of Transitions Dunbarton and a member of the Dunbarton NH Energy Committee. He is a Director of the American Friends of Asian Rural Institute and ARI teachs sustainable agriculture and community leadership & development to rural leaders from Southeast Asia & Africa.

Solarize Toolkit Ready Just in Time

24 Upper Valley towns have Solarized – Will your town be next?

After two years of experience coordinating Solarize campaigns in the Upper Valley, Vital Communities has created a comprehensive toolkit with timelines, templates, and examples to help any community Solarize. The Toolkit is now online and ready to use. Check it out today:

For towns interested in helping residents go solar before the federal solar tax credit expires at the end of 2016, we recommend getting to work in November or December of 2015. You’ll need about four months to get ready to launch your campaign, and we recommend launching 2016 campaigns between February and April.

Contact for more information.

Winter is Coming! Is Your Home Ready?

Winter is coming! Is your home ready?

Come to Hanover’s Button Up Workshop

Thursday, October 22, 7 to 9 pm

at R. W. Black Center, Hanover

PRESENTER: Andy Duncan, Energy Training Manager

  • Learn techniques to lower home energy costs.
  • Find out about NH incentives for making efficiency improvements.
  • Demo LED lighting; free LED bulb to first 30 households signing in.

Sponsored by Sustainable Hanover

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