Elected officials, economic development representatives, and friends of SunCommon gathered in front of Sharon Academy’s 26-panel array Tuesday to celebrate the launch of SunCommon’s solar program into Orange and Windsor counties. SunCommon originally launched in central Vermont two years ago with a mission: to increase access to solar among everyday Vermonters and dramatically increase the amount of solar installations in the state. Before SunCommon’s launch, there were a total of 1,500 residential solar installations statewide; since then, SunCommon has sold almost 1,000 systems in the six counties in which they currently operate.
“SunCommon is thrilled to be expanding into this new corner of the state. The Upper Valley already boasts significant solar, but there’s still tremendous work ahead to reach our state’s goal of 90% renewable energy. We’re ready to dig in and help drive toward that goal.” said Duane Peterson, SunCommon’s co-president.
The Director of the White River Valley Chamber of Commerce Emma Schumann, Chairman of the Sharon Select Board Paul Haskell, Hartland Energy Coordinator Karl Kemnitzer, Sharon Academy Head of School Michael Livingston and new Solar Homeowners joined the SunCommon staff to welcome them to Orange & Windsor Counties.
With their offer of solar at no upfront cost, SunCommon hopes to capture solar enthusiasts who had been held back by what can be a significant upfront investment.
Allen Wilder, one of SunCommon’s first Orange county customers, says “it was SunCommon’s innovative financing program that allowed us to go solar. We’re in our 80’s, and there would be no other way to make solar work for us financially.”
“I've watched SunCommon develop, and have been waiting for them to expand to the Upper Valley area,” said Karl Kemnitzer, of the Hartland Energy Committee, “Many homeowners that I have talked with over the past few years have not been able to go solar because of the upfront cost. I am glad that now ,when I’m talking with homeowners, I’m able to include a company that has socially responsible financing that many more homeowners will find accessible.”
As a Benefit Corporation SunCommon is legally obligated to operate with a triple bottom-line of people, planet, and profit. “We’re doing this to benefit our state, its people and its natural setting,” said Peterson. “While we work towards dramatically increasing the production of solar energy, each of our business decisions can have smaller but meaningful positive effects as well.”
“New business creates a better economy – the new jobs provide income, which can be spent at other local businesses. Additionally, more solar installations will add great value to our White River Valley homes,” said Emma Schumann of the White River Valley Chamber of Commerce, “and it enhances the livability of the community through employment and pride in bringing value to our society.”
Vermont was recently recognized as first in the nation in per capita solar jobs. Nationally, solar is growing exponentially with solar jobs now far surpassing jobs in the coal industry. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, the US saw a 41% increase in solar installed between 2012 and 2013 with solar comprising nearly 30% of all new added capacity in 2013. SunCommon’s growth follows a clear national trend.
SunCommon: Upcoming Solar Workshops
Solar 101: Going solar with no upfront cost
Moore Hall, The Sharon Academy
Tuesday, July 15th, 7:00 PM
The Sharon Energy Committee will be hosting a Solar Q&A session at the Sharon Academy to help understand whether solar can work for you. We’ll walk you through what makes a good solar site, and how federal and state incentives and SunCommon’s innovative financing programs have finally made solar a reality for everyday Vermonters.
Solar Workshop - How to go solar with no upfront cost
July 22nd, at the Pomfret Town Hall 7:00-8:30 PM
Join Anika James for a question & answer session about how to go solar at the Pomfret Town Hall. She'll answer all your questions about how solar works in Vermont, what makes a good solar site, and how federal and state incentives and SunCommon's innovative financing programs have finally brought solar within reach of everyone.
Suncatchers and Solar Workshop: how to go solar with no upfront cost
TipTop Pottery, 85 North Main Street, Suite 110, White River Jct, VT
July 26th, from 10-12
Come join Anika James for a question & answer session about how to go solar with no upfront cost. Learn the basics of siting solar at your home, how the federal and state incentives work, and how SunCommon's no upfront cost model is finally allowing everyday Vermonters to go solar. And while you're at it, learn how to make a fused-glass suncatcher for your window - for free!
Solar Workshop Series sponsored by the Hartland Energy Committee at the Hartland Public Library:
Solar 101 - Going solar with no upfront cost
Hartland Public Library
July 16th 7:00
Join Anika for a question & answer session about how to go solar. We'll answer all your questions about what makes a good solar site, and how federal and state incentives and SunCommon's innovative financing programs have finally brought solar within reach of everyone.
Solar 202 - Group Net Metering: How to share solar with your friends
Hartland Public Library
August 21st 7:00
Have you always wanted to go solar but have too many trees? Or do you have a sunny field just begging to be filled with solar? Group Net Metering allows you to share solar with your neighbors or friends, so even people without a good spot can go solar. We'll walk you through the steps of setting up a group solar system--from finding the site, to arranging financing, to picking and working with your partners.
Solar 303 - How to Heat and Cool your Home with Solar
Hartland Public Library
September 18th 7:00
Solar Heating and Cooling allows Vermonters to heat and cool their homes at about 1/3 the cost of heating fuel - with clean, fossil-free energy. This workshop will cover the basics of solar power and heat pumps: how they fit into our state's energy plans, how our "no upfront cost" offering is structured, how the technologies work, and more.
Solar Open House
The Solar Home of Jackie & Al Wilder
246 Wilder Drive
Brookfield, Vermont 05036
SunCommon at Farmers Markets:
Royalton: July 24th 3-6
Bethel: July 28th 3-6
Windsor: July 20th 11:30-2:30
Springfield: August 2nd
Hartland: August 1st
Woodstock Children’s Market: July 23rd 3-6 PM
Randolph Concert Series: August 5 5-7
Hartland Solar Children’s Market: August 22nd
Source: SunCommon 7.15.2014