VSECU Unveils Solar Array and Introduces Plan to Offset Electric Usage

Guilford solar article

Our innovative investment in renewable energy could pave the way for other non-profits

On Tuesday, October 25, 2016, we flipped the switch on an innovative project to invest in clean, renewable energy that offsets the credit union’s electricity consumption with solar net metering credits. This, our latest renewable energy project, includes a new 500kW solar array located in Guilford that is designed to generate enough power to offset our organization’s electricity consumption.

Read Guilford Solar Site Goes Live in the Brattleboro Reformer.

The project is the result of an innovative partnership we entered into with Soveren Solar, a solar installation and development company. Through our agreement with Soveren Solar, we are purchasing the solar net metering credits produced by the array to offset our power bill. In addition, we are purchasing and retiring the renewable energy credits (RECs) here in Vermont, which means that the electricity we use at VSECU will truly be 100% renewable.*

By building the array in Vermont and retiring the credits here, we hope to increase our positive impact on the state by supporting clean energy jobs in our state and preventing out of state businesses from using our credits to offset their carbon use.

Not for profits have not historically invested heavily in renewable energy because they cannot take the federal tax credit offered to for-profits for these types of projects. Our agreement with Soveren Solar enables the installation company to take the tax credit. In return, Soveren Solar has agreed to sell us the net metering credits at a discount. This approach has maximized our investment and we hope that other non-profits and not for profits will see this as an affordable way to invest in renewable energy.

The renewable energy project is one of many VSECU initiatives that are grounded in our environmental mission. In addition to our suite of VGreen products, which help our members finance energy efficiency projects and purchases, we have invested in the energy efficiency of our “green” branches in St. Johnsbury, Waterbury, and Rutland.

*1 REC represents 1MWh of electricity generated by an eligible renewable energy resource. The credits can be traded and bartered and the owner of the credits can claim the renewable energy represented by the credits. In this way, a company that relies 100% on non-renewable energy can claim that 50% of their energy is renewable if they purchase enough credits to offset 50% of their non-renewable energy.