GMP Launching Programs to Help Low-Income Customers Save by Expanding Cost-Effective Solar in Vermont
- Qualified customers save every month, boosting equity by removing common financial barriers to solar energy
- GMP unlocking federal green energy incentives to 100% benefit customers
- Programs will increase renewable generation cost effectively in Vermont and energy storage can be added for resiliency
COLCHESTER, Vt. – Green Mountain Power (GMP) announced today it is launching two programs to connect income-qualified customers with solar energy that has too often been out of reach for them. The Shared Solar Program (SSP) unlocks incentives in the federal Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) to create a qualified low-income program that saves participants money. Another program, the Affordable Community Renewable Energy (ACRE) Pilot, will use a state grant so eligible customers can take part in new Vermont solar projects, providing them discounts for five years. Together, these new programs will help thousands of eligible GMP customers save money while growing new Vermont community solar.
The projects built for this program will be some of the first in Vermont sparked by the renewable energy provisions of the IRA and state recovery funds. GMP will also look to add energy storage to the projects to create more benefits for all customers, increasing resiliency, strengthening the grid, and further lowering costs.
“These projects will help thousands of Vermonters who are low income reduce their monthly energy statements by unlocking financial benefits in the federal Inflation Reduction Act, all while boosting local solar energy,” said Candace Morgan, GMP’s Director of Corporate and Legislative Affairs. “We’re looking forward to seeing strong proposals from local solar developers to make sure we can connect our customers with cost-effective solar energy, and to partner with them to add storage to these projects too.”
The monthly savings for qualified customers will be in addition to discounts that customers can already receive through GMP’s energy assistance program (EAP). The funding from the federal and state programs allows GMP to flow through discounts to participants while adding new solar at no increased cost, which further enhances the equity of these programs for all customers. GMP plans to start enrolling customers for solar savings as soon as this summer with projects starting to generate power by the end of the year.
“We know these new GMP solar programs are so important because they increase equity for those who need it most and serve a need that is currently unmet. We see this every day in CVOEO’s GreenSavingSmart Program in which our Financial Energy Coach works with Vermonters to navigate green energy choices available to them. Often, Vermonters who face financial challenges can’t go solar because they don’t own a home, or they have credit issues. GMP’s initiative will change that in a meaningful way,” said Paul Dragon, CEO of CVOEO.
GMP opened its request for proposals (RFP) from solar developers for the Shared Solar Program in December 2022, and the window to file proposals closes January 26, 2023. GMP received the ACRE grant award notice from the state in December. GMP filed plans with Vermont regulators for both the Shared Solar and ACRE programs this week. Combined, the two programs equal at least 40MW of new cost-effective solar, enough to power about 11,000 homes for a year. Each program provides a path for federal funds that are intended to incentivize expansion of renewable energy production to directly benefit low-income customers.
“We are grateful for the leadership Green Mountain Power is providing to ensure low-income Vermonters can save money while also strengthening our local economy through the deployment of new renewable energy sources supported by the Federal Inflation Reduction Act,” said Jim Merriam, CEO of Norwich Solar, which plans to submit site proposals for the programs.
More information for solar developers interested in participating is available in the “What’s New” section of GMP’s Regulatory page.
About Green Mountain Power
Green Mountain Power serves more than 270,000 residential and business customers in Vermont with electricity that’s 100% carbon free and 78% renewable, and GMP is partnering with customers to improve lives and transform communities. GMP is providing solutions to cut carbon and is delivering electricity that is clean, affordable, and always on. GMP is the first utility in the world to get a B Corp certification, meeting rigorous social, environmental, accountability and transparency standards and committing to use business as a force for good. In 2022, GMP was named to TIME’s list of the 100 Most Influential Companies. Fast Company named GMP one of the top five Most Innovative Companies in North America in 2022. GMP also earned a spot on Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies in the World list in the energy sector four years in a row, and in 2021 the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) honored GMP as a nationwide leader in energy transformation.
These projects will help thousands of Vermonters who are low income reduce their monthly energy statements by unlocking financial benefits in the federal Inflation Reduction Act, all while boosting local solar energy.Candace Morgan, GMP’s Director of Corporate and Legislative Affairs