A recent agreement between Green Mountain Power and NRG Residential Solar Solutions to create a solar lease program in Rutland is a step toward meeting that promise, said Dorothy Schnure, corporate spokesperson with Green Mountain Power.
The agreement is a pilot program that starting this summer will allow customers to enroll in an NRG Residential Solar leasing program with no upfront cost.
The unusual agreement between a utility and solar developer allows people who don’t have space for solar or can’t afford to build infrastructure to still rely on solar energy through a low-cost lease program, Green Mountain Power president and CEO Mary Powell said in a press release.
“Many participants are likely to pay less for solar energy than they are paying today on their electric bills,” she said in the release.
The goal is to create a solar community of 50 to 100 customers whose enrollment will support the development of the two 150-kilowatt solar projects planned, said Scott Fisher, director of alternative energy at NRG in a press release.
“We see this as a test case for new ways to bring the benefits of solar to more people,” he said in the release. “As the country’s largest solar developer, we recognize the importance of making solar work for local communities. We appreciate that GMP is actively exploring ways to make solar a vibrant energy source for the company and its customers. As we looked around the country for the optimal partner to create this pilot, the innovative spirit of GMP and the City of Rutland made them the perfect partner for this pilot program,” Fisher said.
The plan is to build one solar farm this year and the second in 2014. Customers can start enrolling this summer, pending approval of the Vermont Public Service Board.
“This agreement will produce benefits for participating customers, complements the solar capital and state renewable energy goals, and adds to the growing momentum in downtown Rutland and the city in general,” said Steve Costello, GMP’s vice president for generation and energy innovation.
The program in Rutland, if successful, will be a model for similar plans elsewhere in Vermont, Schnure said.
“If it’s successful there, it can be successful anywhere,” she said.
Image provided by GMP of Creek Path solar facility built in Rutland in 2012.