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Take Advantage of this VT Solar Incentive Before July 1

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Changes are coming to Vermont’s net metering incentives for solar.  Currently, all new solar customers receive a three-cent solar adder for all the energy their array produces. Customers who register their solar system on or after July 1, 2019 will lose one cent for every kilowatt hour of energy their array generates. This one cent is a portion of a state net-metering incentive (often referred to as an adder), which has been in place since 2011. The adder, which is offered for the first 10 years of a new solar system’s life, will be reduced from three cents to two cents. If you are considering purchasing a solar system, this is your cue to register your system now.

What is a solar adder and how does it relate to net metering?

Net metering essentially allows solar array owners to use the electric grid as a storage battery. In other words, their solar system creates excess energy on a sunny day, which feeds into the grid, where it is diverted to other users. In return, the system owner racks up bill credits, which they can use on a cloudy day or during the winter when there isn’t as much sun to convert into energy.

Net metering doesn’t just benefit the solar array owner by acting as a battery. The energy that homeowners create with their solar panels can be used to cover energy needs in their community. This benefits the electric utilities by reducing their need to upgrade the utility’s infrastructure. Less infrastructure for the utility then translates into lower costs for utility customers.

 

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The solar adder was initiated by the State, with the help of Green Mountain Power, to incentivize solar array owners to share their excess energy with the grid (another option would be to use a battery bank in their own home to save the energy for later). The ultimate goal was to help Vermont reach its of running on 90% renewable energy by 2050. For utility customers, it is a discount on their monthly electricity bill.

The adder is currently three cents—one cent for preferred siting and two cents for the value of the renewable energy credits (RECS). The preferred siting adder (one cent) is paid to those who have built their array in a neighborhood, where it can generate energy that is easily diverted to nearby utility customers. The other portion of the adder (two cents) is paid in exchange for RECS, which the utilities add to their portfolio to show that they are producing a certain amount of solar, thus helping the state reach its 2050 goal.

Solar adders are offered to solar system owners for ten years. Those who register their array before the July 1 cutoff will receive the full three-cent adder. Those who miss the cutoff date will receive only two cents per kilowatt-hour. After ten years, those pennies add up, so don’t miss this opportunity to take advantage of this incentive before it is reduced.

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