Renewable Energy Technology Incentives in Vermont
Vermont compares favorably with the other states in the US when it comes to renewable energy, delivering 27% of its electricity from sources such as hydroelectric, solar and biomass. It does not have a renewable portfolio standard in place but does have a voluntary goal of 25% by 2017, a target it is currently ahead of.
When it comes to winter heating, Vermont has in place a Clean Energy Development Fund which is designed to promote highly efficient wood burners and in recent times all new electricity added to the state grid actually came from solar. Things are looking positive for the state when it comes to renewables.
Solar capacity has increased from 0.7 MW in 2007 to 107 MW which puts it around mid-table when it comes to this particular technology. With good incentives in place, there is the potential to grow the industry more. There are currently 77 solar companies in Vermont employing around 1,500 people and the largest single installation is in Sharon, the 3 MW SunGen 1 Farm.
The state’s hydroelectric power comes from three main stations: The Frank D Comerford Dam, the Harriman Dam and the Waterbury Dam. There is scope for micro hydro installations especially for more remote communities and agricultural land. One city in Vermont, Burlington, is now powered entirely by renewable technology including the wood burning McNeil Electric Generating Facility. Wind power is also doing well in the State with just under 200 MW of capacity installed and the potential to add more in the future.
Solar PV Incentives in Vermont
There is good potential for solar development in Vermont and there are incentives in place from both the federal and state government. Installers can first benefit from a Federal Tax Rebate of 30% but there are a number of tax exemptions from the state as wel. With net metering in place, systems up to 500 KW can benefit from the GMP Solar Power Rebate and there are various low cost loans available for both residential and commercial projects. The state also has in place the Clean Energy Development Fund which is available for a wide range of renewable technologies such as solar, wind and biomass.
Solar PV Case Study in Vermont
Vermont allows you to both buy outright or lease, where you have free panels installed but hand over any incentives or profits over the lifetime of your array. A typical 5 kW installation should cost in the region of $20,000 and comes with the 30% Federal Tax Rebate and state incentives. You would expect to pay off any loan by about year 14 and make an overall profit in 25 years of about $18,000. That doesn’t take into account the rise in sale value of your home of a similar amount once panels are installed.
Solar Thermal Incentives in Vermont
Solar thermal is a low cost and efficient way of providing hot water and is popular across the US. It comes with many of the incentives that solar PV enjoys as well as tax exemptions and low cost loans. Individual utility companies also provide rebates such as the Vermont Gas Residential Energy Efficiency Program.
Small Hydro Incentives in Vermont
The state has pretty good potential for small scale hydroelectric and off grid systems of all types including wind and solar are becoming increasingly popular. Hydroelectric benefits from the Federal Tax Rebate, property tax exemptions and low cost PACE loans. There is also the Small-Scale Renewable Energy Incentive Program which is available for systems up to 25 kW.
Geothermal Incentives in Vermont
Geothermal is growing across the US, particularly for technologies such as ground source heat pumps which can provide property heating for well insulated homes and businesses. Installers can benefit from the Investment Tax Credit which is available for a wide range of technologies.
Biomass Incentives in Vermont
The state is trying to promote the uptake of biomass alternatives for homes and businesses such as wood pellet boilers and heaters. As well as personal, property and sales tax credits there are low cost loans for commercial and agricultural services including the Commercial Energy Loan Program.
Wind Power Incentives in Vermont
Vermont has a sizeable large scale wind power production infrastructure in place with nearly 200 MW capacity. The biggest installation is in Orleans County at 63 MW and the state has the potential for much more. Small scale wind power for off grid communities and agricultural land is growing and benefits from the Federal Tax Rebate. With net metering in place and incentives such as the Clean Energy Development Fund, there are opportunities for further development despite the higher initial start-up costs for wind power. Return on investment is generally good in this area.
Overall, Vermont has a healthy mix of incentives for all kinds of renewable technology and is more than meeting its voluntary target of 25% from green energy in the future. Further developments and progress will no doubt see solar PV play a bigger part as well as wind and biomass.
You can find out more about the renewable technology incentives available in Vermont from the DSIRE website.