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Vermont's Public Utility Commission lowers state solar incentive

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Go Solar! We did it in Vermont

Source: Ethan Fischer

The VT PUC has just decreased the value of the state solar incentive by 25%, effective July 1.

This change means new customers will receive roughly $700-750 less value for an average home solar system. Current customers, and those who go solar before June 30th, will not be affected. So if you’ve been thinking about going solar, now is the time. 

Lowering the state solar incentive is a step in the wrong direction, a policy that will make solar less accessible at a moment when we need to speed the growth of local, clean energy.

Our work in the coming two months is to help as many Vermonters as possible make use of today’s incentive.

How does the incentive work? Today, our utilities pay solar customers a 4 cent solar adder for each kWh of solar they produce over the first ten years of their system’s lifetime. Starting July 1, the solar adder will drop to 3 cents. Those cents add up as thousands of kWh of solar are produced each year.

What now?


If you’ve been pondering solar – or you’ve got solar and are thinking you might need more – let’s get you into the current solar program.  To apply today’s incentive, we need to submit your permit by Friday, June 29.  Here’s how to take the next step:

2. Help us spread word.

We have just two months to help as many Vermonters as possible take advantage of today’s incentive. Share our Facebook posts, post on your community listserv or Front Porch Forum, mention this to your colleagues, etc. — you get the idea. The more Vermonters who know about the incentive drop, the more who can benefit from today’s rates. We consider it our obligation to tell everyone we know — will you do the same?

3. Call or email your legislators – and let them know where your values lie.

Our legislators are a few steps removed from the PUC’s work on our state solar program, and they might not be following this issue closely.  Connect with your local Rep or Senator, and share the news of this incentive drop – and your support for solar.

Does just a 25% decrease really make a difference?

In short: yes. Seemingly small changes have larger impacts than you might imagine.

Solar in Vermont was on the rise, with more and more Vermont homes and businesses adding solar each year – until January 2017. Last January, the PUC decreased the home solar incentive by 30% and the commercial solar incentive by even more. Over the course of 2017, the amount of solar permitted in Vermont plummeted by 50%. Whoa. Less solar installed means fewer people needed to install it, and Vermont also experienced a decrease in solar jobs last year. This is the wrong direction – for the sake of our environment and our economy.

What’s next?

We call our industry the solarcoaster for a reason — there are lots of twists, turns and changes like this one that keep us on our toes. We live for this and for our renewable energy future, so together with our community of SunCommon customers, we’ll continue our work breaking down barriers to clean energy. We’ve weathered storms before, and we’ll weather this one.