John Ward VEC Co op Community Solar for website

Two Years in, VEC's Community Solar Program Sees Continued Growth  

January 30, 2019

Johnson, VT- Vermont Electric Co-op members continue to express interest in VEC’s Co-op Community Solar Program two years since the program was launched, and just over the past six months about 50 new members have sponsored solar panels and have begun saving money on their electricity bills.

A total of 179 members have signed up since the program began in late 2016.

John Ward, a VEC board member from Newport (above) recently sponsored panels in the program.

“People support Co-op Community Solar for all kinds of reasons,” Ward said. “For me it was a dollars-and-cents decision – I did the numbers and there was no question – it was a clear financial win for me.”

Under the program, members make an up-front payment sponsoring solar panels for either 10 or 20 years and receive a fixed solar energy monthly credit on their electric bill. By the end of the sponsorship, the total value of the bill credits exceeds the initial up-front payment.

Ward also noted that the program has appeal because of its flexibility. “You don’t need to put panels up in your yard or on your roof – and if you ever move, you’re not locked in because you can get a refund based on how long you’ve participated,” he said.

Here are some hypothetical scenarios:

  • A member sponsoring 20 panels for 10 years would make an upfront payment of $4,695. That member would get bill credits every month for 10 years, totaling $6,528.
  • A member sponsoring 20 panels for 20 years would make an upfront payment of $8,250.80. That member would get bill credits every month for 20 years, totaling $14,976.

“Co-op Community Solar offers solid value to members, and puts clean electricity onto the local electric grid,” said VEC Energy Services Planner Jake Brown. “It’s easy and rewarding.”