In just five weeks since the program launched, Solar Addison County has already doubled the number of homes with solar hot water in the county. Before the program launched, there were just 17 systems in place. As of the end of August, the program has already helped 17 new families go solar.
This program is conducted by VPIRG, the state’s largest consumer and environmental protection organization in partnership with Sunward, a Vergennes-based solar hot water system manufacturer. Solar Addison County organizes folks who have wanted to go solar, but needed help figuring out the vendors, equipment, financing and permitting. This program creates a volume of customers, in close proximity that provides real efficiencies for the installers to bunch their site visits and installations. This volume and efficiency translates into an 18 percent discount.
With the discounted price, government incentives and discounted financing—homeowners are now able to heat their water with the sun for a low monthly payment that costs about the same as what they’re paying now in expensive electricity or dirty fossil fuels. Additionally, they will be insulated from future energy rate hikes.
In the previous decade, there had been just 13 solar hot water installations. Over the course of four months, 80 families have gone solar through the Montpelier program.