Vermont Solar Rebates, Incentives and Tax Credits

Vermont’s capitol city, Montpelier, is the smallest state capital in the U.S., with a population of less than 9,000 people. But they make up for that by claiming the largest producer of maple syrup in the U.S title. Vermont is also surrounded by forests with over three-quarters of the state covered in greenness but alas the state has had a tough time passing renewable energy legislation. In 2007, House Bill 520, which supports renewable energy power projects of all types and all sizes—wind, solar, hydro, and biomass, was passed by both the Vermont House and Senate but was ultimately vetoed by Governor Jim Douglas. On the solar legistation front, Vermont has not been too active apart from continuing to fund the Small-Scale Renewable Energy Incentive Program.

Net-metering
Any electric customer in Vermont can enroll in net-metering after obtaining a Certificate of Public Good from the Vermont Public Service Board (PSB). An application for a Certificate of Public Good for Interconnected Net Metered Power Systems is available here.  Net-metering is available on a first-come, first-served basis. The program will be closed once the cumulative capacity of net-metered systems equals 2% of a utility’s peak demand during 1996 or the peak demand during the most recent full calendar year, whichever is greater. If you net- meter your net excess generation (NEG) (the additional electricty that you generate but don’t use) will be carried over to your next bill. You have 12 months to use these NEG credits otherwise they will be given to the utility and you will not be compensated. Net metering is also available under a time-of-use metering arrangement.
PACE Financing
Good news, Vermont has active Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing availble in four towns Middlesex, Putney, Thetford, and Waitsfield (see the Vermont Clean Energy Development Fund Summary Information for more details).
The details are:
  • You may opt in to a program by signing a contract with the municipality’s Clean Energy Assessment District.
  • The contract specifies the amount of the loan, the terms of repayment and the associated risks.
  • You must agree to a special assessment and lien on the property.
  • The municipality may release a lien on a property once the property owner has met the terms of the loan, or in the event of a foreclosure.
  • Financing may not exceed 15% of assessed property value.
Production Incentive
Green Mountain Power is offering a bonus payment to customers with net-metered home solar power systems. The bonus is that Green Mountain Power customers will receive $0.06 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for electricity generated by the system. There is no specified duration or expiration date.Details:

  • In order to net meter, customers must first apply for and receive a “Net Metering Certificate of Public Good” from the Vermont Public Service Board (PSB).
  • An additional meter must be installed to record each system’s output and Green Mountain Power will reimburse customers for up to $300 of the expenses associated with the additional meter.
  • You retain ownership of the renewable-energy credits (RECs) associated with the electricity generated by PV systems.
Property Tax Exemption
Net-metered home solar power systems are exemption from property tax.
Renewable Energy Systems Sales Tax Exemption
The exemption is available for both grid-tied and off-grid solar power systems.
Clean Energy Development Fund (CEDF) Loan Program
The Clean Energy Development Fund (CEDF) Loan Program provides funding for purchasing residential solar power systems.
Details are as follows:
  • Loans are provided at a fixed rate of 2%;
  • Eligible clean electric-energy technologies generally include solar, wind, biomass, fuel cells and combined heat and power (CHP).
  • The minimum loan amount is $50,000; the maximum amount is $500,000.
  • Loans may not be used for more than 90% of the cost of a project.
  • The maximum term for equipment loans is 7 years.
  • Borrowers must pay an application fee of 1% on the loan amount, capped at $1,500, after the loan is approved. And, borrowers must pay closing costs.
  • Applications are due quarterly (July 1, October 1, January 1, and April 1).
  • The CEDF Board reviews applications and makes loan determinations typically within 60 days.
Vermont Small-Scale Renewable Energy Incentive Program 
This program was initiated in June 2003 to provide funding for new solar water heating, solar electric (photovoltaic) , wind, and micro-hydro energy system installations. It is currently in its sixth round of funding (5.2 million dollars). These funds were made available as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) via the Vermont Clean Energy Development Fund.
Details:
  • The program is available to single and multi-family residences;
  • Residential rebates are $1.50/Watt (W) up to 10 kilowatts (kW) with a maximum incentive of $15,000;
  • There is a special category for low-income familes to recieve $3.00/W DC up to 10 kW with the maximum incentive up to 35% of project costs;

Once a total of 750 kW of applications have been reserved during this sixth round of funding under the residential and commercial categories, solar incentive levels will be reduced. Only systems installed by pre-approved installers will be eligible for funding and once your application is accepted have 9 months to complete the installation

Example
LocationVermont
UtilityGreen Mountain Power
Av. Monthly Electricity Bill$192
System Size8.1 kW
Annual Electricty Production9,358 kWh
% Reduction in Electricity Bill65
Cost / Watt (installed)$7.00
Cost Breakdown
Total Cost$56,700
Rebates
State Rebate($1.50/Watt)$12,150
Green Mountain Power – Solar GMP $ 0.06 per kWh (10 years)$5,610 (total payment)
Federal Tax Incentive$13,365
NET COST including GMP payment$25,575
Cash Flow
New Av. Monthly Electric Bill$67
Monthly Loan Payment (30 yrs, 6%, 0 down)$186
Tax Saving$60*
Green Mountain Power Production Incentive Payment$47
NEW MONTHLY NET COST$146
Cummulative Lifetime Savings$75,767 over 25 years
 * Tax savings will decrease as the principal is paid down. Please consult your tax preparer.

Still have questions? Fill out our free evaluation form and let us put you in touch with some qualified Vermont solar installers who can answer all your questions and provide you with tailored installation quotes.