Vermont’s innovative solar program a finalist for national Readers Choice award

first_imgAn innovative solar program recently established by Vermont is up for a national award.The Excellence in Renewable Energy Awards, hosted by Renewable Energy World, has selected Vermont’s registration program for small solar systems as a finalist for its Readers Choice Award.Online voting is open through January 20 and is open to the public.The winner will be announced in Long Beach, California in mid-February.‘Given the national interest in Vermont’s innovative program, we think there’s a real shot we could capture the Readers Choice. We hope Vermonters and folks throughout the industry will weigh in and vote,’ said Andrew Savage of AllEarth Renewables in Williston. ‘Many Vermonters familiar with the solar industry are eager to see our state be a national model for cutting installation costs, making solar more affordable and accessible to homeowners.’With Vermont’s newly implemented law, small solar systems now have a simple pre-determined process that reduces paperwork and uncertainty and means they can be installed after just 10 days. The new process replaces all permitting for ground or roof-mounted solar systems 5kW and smaller with a single basic registration form outlining the system components, configuration, and compliance with interconnection requirements.”As a local installer, this new registration process is enormously helpful. This speeds up the installation process allowing us to avoid wasting time with costly delays for small installations,” said Rich Nicol, of Solartech, an installer in northeastern Vermont.A recent study earlier this year by SunRun, a leading national provider of residential solar systems, found that permitting adds an average cost of $2,500 to each solar installation and that streamlining the often-cumbersome processes would provide a $1 billion no-cost stimulus to the solar industry over the next five years.The report finds that the additional installation cost’ $.50 per watt’ is due to wide permitting variations not connected to safety, excessive fees, and an unnecessarily slow process. The report cites that Germany has a 40 percent advantage over the United States in installation price.Vermont’s new registration process, which is free, went into effect at the end of last year. The legislation,which became Act 47 and was signed into law May 25, 2011, received strong bipartisan support.‘We think the Vermont registration process could be a real model to follow nationally,’ said Jurgen Krehnke, president and general manager of SMA America. ‘Reducing the time and resources that go into solar installations is right in line with the DOE’s SunShot initiative and is critical to increasing PV adoption.’Williston, Vermont January 16, 2012last_img

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