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


Webinar: Launch Your Own Solarize Campaign

As the final round of Solarize Upper Valley wraps up, residents around the region have a new opportunity to get involved.

On October 14, Vital Communities along with the New Hampshire Local Energy Working group is offering a free webinar: Launch Your Own Solarize Campaign.

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. Vital Communities’ own Sarah Simonds will walk participants through the online Solarize Toolkit and offer tips on where to start and what to expect. Solarize volunteer Peter LaBelle of Cavendish, Vt., will share his experience helping to lead his community’s recent campaign.

The webinar runs from noon to 1 pm Wednesday, October 14. Learn more and register.

Did You Miss Our Solarize Webinar?

Did you miss our Solarize webinar?

Good news: You can see what you missed in a video on the New Hampshire Local Energy Solutions website!

Solarize Upper Valley has helped residents in 24 towns go solar – over 300 residents to date, and over 450 expected by the end of the year. What’s the secret to success? Find out by watching the webinar recording. You’ll hear from Vital Communities, as well as the volunteer-installer team who brought Solarize to Randolph, Brookfield, and Braintree, Vermont, last winter. Many communities are launching Solarize campaigns across the Northeast—yours could be next!

Solarize Volunteer Building Solar Farm in Canaan

Great article in today’s Valley News about a new solar farm in Canaan. The project was originally planned for Enfield, but Enfield’s stricter zoning policies do not include guidelines for large renewable energy projects. Fortunately, the project is prompting town leaders in Enfield to consider updating zoning policies to include renewable energy. I’m sure we’ll hear about this project from the Enfield Energy Committee at next year’s Energy Committee Roundtable.

Read the full article HERE

Energy Efficiency and the Real Estate Market

FREE WEBINAR – Making Energy Efficiency Visible in the Real Estate Market
Wednesday June 24, 2015, 10am – 11am EST

Register Today!

As the brutal cold of winter 2015 fades to a memory, the question for an increasing number of potential home buyers is how to find a comfortable house that won’t break the bank with high energy bills.

Join VItal Communities’ partner NEEP (Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships) on Wednesday June 24 from 10:00 to 11:00 EST for a webinar which will focus on the value of energy efficiency in the real estate market and provide a snapshot of the growing high-performance housing market.

RE/MAX’s Chief of Energy Solutions, Craig Foley, will outline the importance of being able to recognize the energy efficient characteristics of homes. His presentation will provide resources that real estate professionals can use to stay up to date on the rapidly changing technologies that contribute to a comfortable, healthy, and affordable living environment.

Cornish and Plainfield Charge Ahead

The Cornish and Plainfield Energy Committees Invite You To Inaugurate NH’s 39th Public Electric Vehicle Charging Station

(Guest Post from STEVE LADD, one of our Solarize volunteers from 2014)

The Upper Valley now has one more Electric Vehicle Charging Station, conveniently located at Anne’s Plainfield Country Convenience Store, at 1190 Rt 12A, Plainfield, halfway between Claremont and West Lebanon.  You are invited to join us for a short inaugural ceremony on April 29th, 6:30pm at Anne’s Country Store.

The Plainfield and Cornish Energy Committees elected to install an EV charging station as the towns’  commitment to alternative energy use by increasing the number of EV charge points in NH.  There are currently 38 public charging stations in NH, and 54 in Vermont (according to the US Dept of Energy Alternative Fuels Data Center).  Other public Upper Valley chargers are located at the Hartland Exit 9 Commuter lot, King Arthur Flour in Norwich, the Hanover Parking Garage, and DHMC in Lebanon.  This new location fills a gap between these charging stations.

The charger is  Siemens VC30GRYU Versicharge 30-Amp, 240 volt level 2 Electric Vehicle Charger, which can completely recharge most EV batteries in less than 3.5 hours.  A more typical use would be to recharge a vehicle for 30 minutes to provide an additional range of 6-11 miles to get home or to continue to a fast-charge location.  It is compatible with all plug-in electric vehicles (SAE J1772 vehicle plug).

Anne’s Country Store is offering the charging service free of charge to all EV owners. Customers can enjoy Anne’s food, dining room, WiFi and restroom while they charge their cars. There is also an ATM and if you still need fossil fuels, there’s gas and diesel too! Walking maps of Plainfield Village are also available at the store, so you can take a pleasant stroll to some of the historic sites nearby while your car is charging. Anne Yates, the proprietor of Anne’s Country Store, is considering installing solar panels in the near future so that charging a car would take advantage of a renewable energy source.

Frank Perotti charging his Chevy Volt. Bill Cable is in the background holding an award from the Cornish Conservation Commitee.

Much of the funding for the charger came from a $1000 donation from Solar Source of Keene, in recognition for exceeding Solarize Cornish-Plainfield’s goal of installing 60kW of new residential PV solar systems. Over the past summer, 33 new PV solar systems were installed in Cornish and Plainfield for a total of 180 kW in potential renewable energy production.  This initiative was a joint effort between the towns’ energy committees and Vital Communities aimed at making residential and small business solar photovoltaic (PV) energy more accessible across our region.  It served to educate the communities on energy alternatives, provide coordination and group pricing on solar installation, and inspired additional community projects such as the EV charging station, DIY options and net metering/group solar installations. Solar Source was selected as the project’s preferred solar vendor and installed 23 of the systems.

The Cornish Conservation Commission recently awarded Solarize Cornish-Plainfield a plaque mounted on a solar panel that reads, “The Cornish and Plainfield Energy Committees, with the help of Vital Communities helped support energy independence and the lowering of our communities’ carbon footprint through the successful promotion of solar energy in the two communities.”  The plaque is displayed at the charging station kiosk.


Videos Are Up! (from April’s Community Solar Events)

Finally a chance to learn more about “Community Solar” – a.k.a. group net metering.

I often get questions for residents and local energy volunteers about “Community Solar” – when a group of people who can’t put solar on their own homes buy into a larger solar array located somewhere else within their utilities’ electric grid. Below are two upcoming opportunities to learn about “Community Solar”. Contact me if you have questions about either event.


Community Solar Forum (targeted at Vermont residents)
Wednesday, April 8, 6:30-8:30pm
Montshire Museum of Science, 1 Montshire Rd., Norwich, VT 05055 


– and/or –


Kevin B. Jones, Deputy Director and Professor, Institute for Energy and the Environment at Vermont Law School will give an overview of Group Net Metering (GNM) and Community Solar. Attending solar vendors (Solaflect, SunCommon, Norwich Technologies, Soveren Solar, Green Mountain Community Solar) will introduce themselves, their company, and their offering, followed by Q&A discussions.

Sponsored by Hartford Energy Commission, Montshire Museum, Norwich Energy Committee, Sustainable Energy Resource Group, Sustainable Woodstock, Upper Valley Sierra Club.

Free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

For more information contact: Alan Johnson, alan@datdec.com ,603-252-8451.


Upper Valley Energy Committee Roundtable (targeted at local energy groups)
Tuesday, April 28

Montshire Museum Community Room, Norwich VT

This year’s annual Upper Valley Energy Committee Roundtable will take place Tuesday, April 28th, at the Montshire Museum in Norwich, VT. The change of location this year is due to the growing interest in and attendance at this great event.

The Roundtable assists Upper Valley energy committees in carrying out their work by sharing information and providing networking opportunities, and to help those interested in forming new energy committees. Previous attendees will be receiving separate invitations.If you have not participated before and are interested in attending, please contact SERG@serg-info.org or 802-785-4126.

Energy Conference March 21

It’s that time of year again – the New Hampshire Local Energy Solutions Conference is March 21. We’ll be there – will you?


March 21, 2015
Grappone Conference Center
Concord, NH

Register now for this not-to-miss energy conference! 

New for 2015 – Technical Assistance Drop-in Room
Wondering how best to move forward with an energy project?
Stumped by R-values and BTUs?
Struggling to open your Portfolio Manager account?

Our volunteer experts can help! Topics Include:

  • Energy Efficiency and Benchmarking
  • Strategic Energy Action Planning
  • Project Financing
  • Group Net Metering
  • Energy Policies
  • Utility Core Programs
  • Clean Power Plan and NH’s Role
  • Building Science
  • Grassroots Fundraising
  • School Energy Improvements
REGISTER TODAY! Space Limited – Discounts for Group Sign ups

Brought to you by the New Hampshire Local Energy Work Group and NH Sustainable Energy Association, the annual LES Conference provides critical resources, information, and guidance for individuals, energy committees, local governments, and school districts across the state seeking to implement an energy reduction or renewable energy project in their municipality. The conference provides an ideal forum to meet and learn from other New Hampshire residents who have successfully implemented an energy project, hear best practices, identify financing options, and much, much more.

Register as Exhibitor

Become a Sponsor

Meet Our Growing Group of 2015 Sponsors

The Local Energy Solutions conference is only possible through the generous support of our sponsors.


181 Solar Contracts & Solarize Round Three

Solarize Upper Valley Round Two wrapped up on January 31 with 181 homeowners signing contracts to go solar this year – a total of 1,086 kilowatts of new renewable power in the region! What’s more, every community at least doubled its number of solar homes.

(NOTE: when this was posted on February 4, there were 178 homes going solar – since then we’ve added three more!)

Congratulations and thanks to the dedicated volunteers and partner installers who made the program a success.

Solarize Upper Valley Round Three launches publicly in June. We’ll host an Info Session for Communities from 5:30 to 7 pm on Thursday, February 19, at the Montshire Museum of Science in Norwich, Vermont. Check our calendar or email Sarah@VitalCommunities.org to learn more.

Solarize on WCAX

Did you see the recent story about Solarize Upper Valley on WCAX? We’re excited to be sharing the news about this program far and wide!

WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

There’s still time to get your contract signed before the January 31 deadline! Sign up for your free site visit today if you live in Randolph, Brookfield, Braintree, Woodstock, or Pomfret, Vermont; or Orford, Hanover, Andover, New London, or Wilmot, New Hampshire. And visit VitalCommunities.org/Solarize to learn how to get involved in Round Three in the spring.

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