State offers incentive for solar panel users

ADDISON COUNTY — A new law requires electric utilities give a credit to their customers who produce some of their own power through home solar power panels. The credit is 20 cents for every kilowatt hour their units produce.
When the roughly 14-cent-per-kWh cost of power purchased from Central Vermont Public Service (CVPS) or Green Mountain Power (GMP) is factored into the mix, a solar customer will receive an approximate 6-cent credit called an “adder” for every kWh used and produced.
At least that’s the way the law works for now.
According to Rep. Tony Klein, an East Montpelier Democrat and chairman of the House Natural Resources Energy Committee, every solar customer that purchases a unit and jumps on the new solar credit boat in the next two years will lock into a 10-year fixed utility rate and a 20-cent fixed credit. For Vermont residents who pay the 14-cent rate to CVPS and GMP, their 6-cent adder will be locked in.
After two years, the utilities may adjust their solar rates and in so doing change this 6-cent adder, which could either decrease or increase the incentive.
According to Dotty Schnure, spokeswoman for GMP, if the utilities adjust their solar rate, it won’t affect those solar customers that are already locked into the 14-cent utility rate and the 6-cent adder. The new rate would only affect those customers that purchase a solar unit after the new rate goes into effect.
Reporter Andrew Stein is at [email protected].

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