Green Mountain Power is expanding solar-plus-storage pilot programs and finding success in the systems’ ability to reduce peak demand. When Tom Feist and his wife, Linda Schadler, moved to northern Vermont last year, they knew they wanted a backup power source to protect them from bitter cold and snow and for added peace of mind in a relatively remote home. They immediately decided on a solar array to provide electricity, but had choices to make for a backup power system. While a propane generator was cheaper than the initial $12,000 they eventually spent on the battery, the costs penciled out comparably over the lifetime of energy credits from the system in addition to lower maintenance expenses than what a generator would require. “Long-term it looked like a better deal, for environmental and financial reasons,” Feist said.
The three northern New England states spend $8.2 billion annually on imported fossil fuels.
Despite some promising experiments, a new state tax policy could make it harder to pair farming and solar.
Green Mountain Power is developing three projects to add 14.4 MW of solar and 6 MW of storage to its system.
State regulators recommend legislation that would give charging station owners more leeway to set prices.