posted at 11:46 am Wed Apr 7th, 2010 by (WherezIt_Staff)
The number of Green Mountain Power customers using small-scale renewable energy sources to generate their own electricity has more than doubled since 2008.
The largest growth is coming from customers who generate electricity with solar.
"Clearly many of our customers are taking advantage of technologies that have increased the amount of renewable energy on Vermont's power grid," said Mary Powell, Green Mountain Power president and chief executive officer. "We have a strong commitment to reducing our reliance on fossil fuels during times of peak demand. Net metering allows customers to produce renewable energy, which has long-term environmental benefits for all of us."
Customers who want to generate their own solar, wind biomass, hydro or other renewable energy can participate in "net metering" -- a process established by Vermont law that allows electric utility customers to generate electricity using renewable resources for personal use and "bank" any excess with the utility for limited periods of time.
Through this process, customers can install renewable energy technologies such as solar panels or wind turbines. They pay their utility regular monthly service charges, but are billed for electricity only when they consume more power than they generate. If they generate more power than they need, they can "bank" that power with the utility until they need it, for up to 12 months. Currently, close to 300 GMP customers have applied for and received state permission for net metering.
The bulk of GMP's net metering customers, nearly 75 percent, use solar energy. GMP provides financial incentives for customers to install solar panels through its SolarGMP program, paying customers nearly 50% more than the net metering benefit. With SolarGMP, GMP also pays for the excess power generated, so there is no need for "banking" the excess. In turn, solar power generation helps reduce the utility's need to purchase expensive market power and increases the amount of renewable power on the state's power grid.
John Pacht and Andrea Bayer, Green Mountain Power customers, recently installed solar panels at their home in Hinesburg. "Our new solar panels have significantly reduced our electric bills, thanks to the financial incentives of net metering and SolarGMP. We expect our investment in the panels to be paid back over time, and meanwhile we love knowing that the electricity we are using comes directly from the sun," Mr. Pacht and Ms. Bayer said.
Altogether, since net metering began in 1998, GMP customers' projects account for nearly 3 megawatts (or 3 million watts) of renewable power.
"The increase in net metering is a sign of the significant interest and increasing use of solar generation in our service area," Ms. Powell said. "We are pleased to see Vermonters take advantage of the growing number of opportunities to support sustainable energy practices that protect the natural environment of our state."
About Net Metering
Net metering -- adopted by the Vermont legislature in 1998 -- enables electric utilities to allow customers to generate their own power using small-scale renewable energy sources. Those interested in net metering must first obtain a Certificate of Public Good from the Vermont Public Service Board. For more information, visit: www.publicservice.vermont.gov/energy-efficiency/ee_netmetering.html
About Solar GMP
SolarGMP is a program created by Green Mountain Power to give residential and commercial customers financial incentives to install solar panels. Through this program, GMP pays customers a higher rate per kilowatt hour for the solar power they generate. For more information, visit: www.choose2bgreen.com/about-choose2bgreen/solargmp.html
About Green Mountain Power
Green Mountain Power (www.greenmountainpower.com) transmits, distributes and sells electricity and utility construction services in the State of Vermont in a service territory with approximately one quarter of Vermont's population. It serves more than 200,000 people and businesses.
Montpelier, VT 05602 (Set as Local)
Colchester, VT 05446 (Set as Local)