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Vermont State 54 solar panels available
4.33 peak sun hours
There is enough sunlight to justify going for solar panels in Vermont
7 years payback time
Sell the excess electricity to the utility grid and reduce over 75% of your electricity bill
Sell your excess energy into the grid with Net Metering program
Gain credits from the utility company and pay your bills with them
Solar installations under 15 kW are exempt from property taxes
A PV system, however, still raises the price of your house on the property market
Sales taxes exemption makes solar panels in Vermont cheaper
Grid-tie and off-grid systems are both free of 6% Vermont sales tax
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The US government wants more people to go solar: it’s a modern and green way of getting energy. This is why the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) program was developed. It allows American citizens to claim 30% of the cost of their installation as an income tax deduction. The cost here is not only solar panels, but also shipping, installation expenses and more. For example, if your system overall made you spend $10,000, the government returns you $3,000. To claim the ITC, complete all the necessary forms and submit them when filing your taxes.
Net Metering is the main way in which a solar system pays for itself in the US. The idea is always the same: you sell your excess solar energy into the commercial grid, gain credits and use them to cover your next electric bill.
Vermont has a complicated and diverse Net Metering program. To participate in it, solar owners must first obtain a Certificate of Public Good. You can apply and register for Net Metering here. The capacity limit for solar systems is 500 kW. Net excess generation (NEG) is credited at a blended residential rate and carried over to the customer’s next bill. If any credits that you earn aren’t used in 12 months, they are granted to the utility.
For solar owners that obtained Certificate of Public Good after January 1, 2017, special credit adjusters come into effect that depend on the size and siting of a solar system. For example, homeowners with systems of 15 kW or less in capacity receive a 1 cent/kWh adjuster.
In Vermont group Net Metering is allowed. The group must discuss their initiative with the Public Service Board and provide such information as involved customers and meters, contact information and a dispute resolution process. Each member is going to be billed individually. NEG is credited at a blended residential rate and allocated to group members.
For generating clean energy, solar owners receive Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) — one REC for 1 MW of produced electricity. In Vermont, utilities retain these RECs unless the customer expresses his desire to keep them. If you give up RECs to the utility, you receive a bonus of $0.02/kWh for 10 years in addition to everything that your system already makes. If you keep the RECs to yourself, there is a negative 3 cent/kWh credit adjustor. Currently in Vermont there is no system for trading SRECs like in other states, so the question of whether or not you should keep them is not that simple.
Solar systems in Vermont under 50 kW that are net-metered or off-grid and only provide energy to the property where they are located are exempt from property taxes. Systems that are grid-tie, but aren’t net metered are taxated, as well as off-grid installations that provide power for remote property. However, Vermont allows municipalities to exempt even these solar systems from property taxes, so you can inquire of your local authorities if they have decided to do so.
What is more, there is a uniform tax of $4.00 per kilowatt (kW) instead of the statewide education property tax for systems that are 50 kW or greater in size. Don’t forget that while a small solar system doesn’t raise your property taxes, it does increase the value of your house on the property market.
Vermont solar laws exempt grid-tie and off-grid systems from sales state taxes. Systems that are 500 kW or smaller are eligible for that exemption. Sales tax rate in Vermont is 6%, so in theory this incentive should make PV systems cost in Vermont more accessible for everyone.
Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) helps businesses and individuals in bringing to life their solar projects with loans up to $2 million. The loan is usually issued for 5 year and loan terms and amortization are determined on a case-by-case basis. The funding is usually limited to 60% of the cost of the project, but VEDA can pay up to 90% if the project is worth up to $500,000. Learn more about the fees and apply here.
Generally, it is legal to install solar panels on your house in Vermont after you get a permit from your local authorities. Vermont officials have released an installation guide for systems under 15 kW (which are most residential systems anyway). It states that you need to at least register your system and obtain a Certificate of Public Good to connect it to the grid. Some cities demand additional permits and documents. However, usually your installer knows all the details about permits in your area and handles most of the process. Be aware that city or county officials can impose additional fees on you for inspections and documents. Find more useful articles and links at the Department of Public Service website.
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