Shoreham considers solar power co-op

SHOREHAM — A Shoreham couple is trying to organize a local “community-owned solar cooperative” through which residents could become investors. The payoff for investors, they say, would be net-metering credits applied against their monthly electric utility bills.
Shoreham residents George Gross and Barbara Wilson unveiled their idea at a community discussion on Feb. 23 at Shoreham Elementary School that drew more than 30 people. Gross said he and Wilson will spend the coming weeks processing the community feedback and determining whether to pursue a “centralized” solar project, or one that is distributed among several sites.
Gross said investors could purchase individual solar panels to entitle them to a proportional share of the solar farm benefits. As direct owners of their solar power generation equipment, participants would enjoy the associated benefits of the federal tax credits and potentially the state of Vermont renewable energy incentives.
The Feb. 23 meeting also focused on the benefits of using highly efficient “cold climate heat pump technology” as a means of cutting heating costs in the winter while providing air conditioning in the summer.
There is a chance folks from other Addison County towns could be allowed to invest in, or possibly host, one of the solar installations, according to Gross. A centralized solar farm through the cooperative could host around 600 panels, according to Gross.
“We will have to form a task force to dive into the particulars,” Gross said. “Our aspiration is to have this commissioned and operational by this fall.”
Those seeking additional information should contact Gross at 897-5339, or at [email protected].
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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