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10 Million American Solar Roofs Still Possible?

Posted by Adam Sewall In Wednesday, June 8 2011 under: Vermont Solar, Solar Power Info, Bernie Sanders

Last year, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont put forth a bill that envisioned solar panels on 10 million roofs across America by 2020. It was an ambitious goal that ultimately (and unfortunately) failed to gain traction in Washington.

Now, it appears Sanders is at it again. Along with Sen. John Boozman (R-AR) and Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), the Vermont Independent is moving his 10 Million Solar Roofs Act of 2011 forward.

The only problem is that the Senator's math is a little messy.

Last year's bill called to for $250 million in funding for fiscal year 2012, and $500 million annually through 2021. By our count, that's a total budget of over $4.5 billion.

According to Solve Climate News, however, the most current version of the bill carries a price tag of just $250 million spread over a five-year period, starting in 2012.

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Vermont Enacts Statewide Solar Permitting Standard, Crosshairs On 'Soft Costs'

Posted by Adam Sewall In Wednesday, June 1 2011 under: VoteSolar, Vermont Solar, solar permits, permitting, Cost and Financing, SolarTech

Vermont has passed a law that simplifies and standardizes the permitting process for small solar energy systems statewide, a move that could lead to lower installation costs.

In order to connect a residential solar photovoltaic (PV) system to the electric grid, homeowners across the country are required to complete the permitting process set up by their local government.

By convention, solar installers handle the associated paperwork. But permitting variations from town to town can nevertheless increase solar installation costs. A recent report by SunRun, for instance, suggests that inconsistent local permitting and inspection processes add about $0.50 for each watt of solar PV installed. In other words, simply harmonizing permitting standards could shave about $2,500 off the cost of installing a residential solar power system. Clearly, we're not talking chump change.

Vermont lawmakers agree.

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Vermont Utility Powered by Five Statewide Solar Projects

Green Mountain Power Corporation (GMP) -- Vermont's second-largest utility company -- has contracted Alteris Renewables to build solar energy systems throughout the state in order to meet a company goal of 10,000 panels installed in 1,000 days.

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Fresh Funds Revive Vermont Solar Rebates

Posted by Adam Sewall In Saturday, May 1 2010 under: Solar Energy Rebates, Vermont Solar, Solar Energy Incentives

As of April 22, a new batch of Vermont solar rebates is available. The Vermont Small-Scale Renewable Energy Rebate program has been reopened, thanks to $5.25 million in funding the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). We'll cut right to the chase: what does this mean?

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Solar Rush Hits Vermont

Posted by Adam Sewall In Thursday, October 22 2009 under: Vermont Solar, Solar Energy Incentives, Feed In Tariff

Judging from the overwhelming response received by the state's new clean energy subsidy program, it would appear that Vermonters have struck gold -- renewable energy resources, that is, the kind that power solar panels and turn wind turbine blades.

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Solar Training Resources

The solar industry is still relatively new. It's going through all kinds of growing pains, from determining the best solar incentives and financing options to figuring out the best materials for solar panels themselves. One of the ways in which the industry has yet to really settle is training: for most highly-skilled trades, there is a proscribed certification process. For solar installers, the single most recognizable professional benchmark is getting a voluntary NABCEP certification. (NABCEP is the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners, in case you were wondering. It's a mouthful.) The organization makes a great argument for certification:

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Vermont Enacts Feed in Tariff

Posted by Adam Sewall In Monday, June 22 2009 under: Vermont Solar, Feed In Tariff, Energy Policy

In case you missed it, a few weeks ago Vermont established the first statewide feed-in tariff in the country. What's a feed-in tariff, you say? In short, a feed-in tariff -- or FIT -- guarantees that an owner will receive a premium price for the electricity that's generated by their distributed generation system, like solar panels. (You can read more about FITs here.) Such tariffs have been the preferred policy tool in Germany, where they've spawned a boom in solar installations, and recent chatter suggests that China may soon unveil its own preferential tariff for solar technologies, albeit one that accounts for regional variations in the cost of conventional power.

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Vermont's groSolar buys Borrego's residential sales division

One of New England's largest residential solar installers has stepped back from the game in order to focus on commercial sales. Borrego Solar sold its residential sales division to New England competitor groSolar. Borrego is based out of California but has long been one of the leading installers on the East Coast. The sale means that groSolar will be boosted up on the CA residential solar installation scene, as well.

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