It looks like it’s time to 'go solar'

From the editor

— This newspaper covered a sparsely attended SunCommon news conference in downtown Middlebury Oct. 2. But we’re not letting the lack of attendance get in the way of the news we reported; besides, this wasn’t a typical politically motivated alternative energy advocacy group trying to get some local headlines. The SunCommon news conference struck us as being different—very different.

The Waterbury-based, solar-energy group’s announcement is a big deal, at least for Vermont homeowners who have always day dreamed about going solar, but just haven’t done so because of money. Let’s face it, our perception has been that installing photovoltaics is costly, and that it takes years to get one’s investment back.

Now, thanks to SunCommon’s plan, there’s really no excuse—except, of course, your monthly budget or technical obstacles—not to go solar, at home.

SunCommon officials said some exciting things at their kick-off news conference last week—for instance, you can get a solar-electric system installed at your house for no upfront costs (sic) and you will pay the same cost you’re paying GMP—nee CVPS—for the same amount of SunCommon sunpower (sic).

According to SunCommon, a lot of factors make this seemingly impossible shift-to-solar possible:

  1. Federal and state government policies already support clean energy and offer taxpayer-funded incentives to lower the price.

  2. SunCommon relies on a pool of customers—sort of like an energy co-op—to create volume discounts with its suppliers.

  3. SunCommon creates efficiencies by organizing communities—for example, Addison County residents—so its staffers can visit “a bunch of homes” in one day and “swarm” a town with solar-power installer contractors.

  4. SunCommon has worked out lease and loan financing so the upfront costs are not a roadblock for homeowners.

True, this sounds a little too good to be true, but if you study SunCommon’s website (www.suncommon.com)—and the firm’s proven track record elsewhere in Vermont—it will make good sense.

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