Solarize Charlotte! is the CEC’s campaign to promote residential solar installations throughout town. By partnering with local solar providers DC Energy Innovations and Green Mountain Solar, with support from the Vermont State Employees Credit Union (VSECU), Charlotte residents can get the guidance they need to solarize their homes, lowering their utility bills and joining the clean energy revolution.
Charlotte needs to transition to using 90 percent renewable energy by 2050, as informed by Vermont’s statewide energy goals. The town has made great progress, with 171 solar sites that produce 5,758 MWh of energy, or 36 percent of residential electricity use. For Charlotte to reach the 90 percent renewable goal by 2030, around thirty homes per year must install solar arrays.
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Solar Energy - the ‘Why’ and the ‘How’
Without a solar array or other renewable energy setup, most homes run on fossil fuels, which pollute the environment and accelerate climate change. Solar arrays provide low-cost energy to your home without relying on fossil fuels. The panels, once installed, are very low maintenance and last 30+ years.
Financial incentives are available for installing new solar systems. Owners may take advantage of a 30 percent federal tax credit. Green Mountain Power will give credit for excess energy that is produced and sent back to the grid, called the state net metering incentive. And there is a 100% property tax exemption for solar systems.
Types of Solar
Charlotters are encouraged to obtain solar arrays from any provider they see fit. However, the CEC has partnered with the local providers DC Energy Innovations and Green Mountain Solar to devise a tiered bulk discount structure if ten or more Charlotters purchase arrays from either company.
If you aren’t sure what kind of solar is right for you, read about the three main types below. DC Energy Innovations, Green Mountain Solar, or another provider can come to your home for a site visit and help you determine the best option. Contact them by emailing Ben Gordesky (email@example.com) or Lilly Baron (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Rooftop: This is the simplest type of solar project, in which solar is installed on the rooftop of a home or other structure. For anyone whose house is in an area with plenty of sunlight, this option is often the cheapest and most efficient.
Ground mount: This is another popular option, in which the array is installed on posts mounted in the ground on the property it will be used to power. This is a great option for anyone whose roof does not get enough sunlight to fit a full array, though it’s important to research the environmental impacts of installing solar on an unused piece of land.
Community solar: A system in which a group of people each own a small portion of a large solar array (usually not located on-site) and use that energy in their homes. Charlotte does not currently have a community solar array (yet!)
While the cost of an array can seem daunting, there are experienced local banks ready to help you finance an array. The Vermont State Employees Credit Union has extensive experience in the area and offers solar project financing options to all residents. For more information, see the options below, browse the VSECU website, or contact Lisa LaSante at email@example.com or 802-371-3170.
The VGreen Investment Tax Credit (ITC) Loan: This is a fixed rate unsecured loan with interest rates as low as 5.65% APR for a term of 12 years. There are many options in payments, tax credits, terms, and rates. Get the most up-to-date information from VSECU to figure out what’s best for you.
Energy Equity/Home Equity loan: Offers a discounted home equity rate for energy improvements. This loan would need to be a first or second mortgage on your home with no more than 90% combined LTV.
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