Solar Panel Laws in Vermont

Vermont solar panel laws

Take Advantage of Vermont Solar Panel Laws to Save Money

In Vermont, a typical solar rooftop system will pay for itself in about ten years through energy cost savings, but various laws also help to make such systems a feasible choice.
Additionally, state law is forcing a rapid move toward environmentally friendly energy sources including solar power.

Renewable Portfolio Standard

Vermont’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) is one of the most ambitious in the nation, second only to Hawaii’s. State law requires that, by 2017, an impressive 55% of all electricity come from renewable sources such as solar panels.

By 2020, the goal is 59%, and it increases from there, until 2032, when 75% of all electricity will have to come from renewables.

 

This law forces utility companies to help customers make the transition to solar power, because if they don’t meet these goals, they will end up having to pay fines to the state government.

 

Net Metering

Utility companies are required by law to monitor energy produced by their customers’ solar power systems. Any excess production is then credited to the customers’ electric bill at the going rate (retail price).

 

However, if the credits are not all used within twelve months, the customer loses them. They are not rolled forward to the next year or refunded. Credits are given for up to 500 kW, with a cap at 15% of peak demand.

Fee Restrictions

Vermont law prevents utility companies from charging more than the standard fees on solar power systems. Thus, interconnection, standby, and capacity fees cannot be marked up.

Renewable Energy Credits

When your solar power system produces energy, you receive a renewable energy credit, or REC.

One unique law in Vermont is that, even if you get a performance payment from a utility company such as Green Mountain Power, you can still keep your RECs. You can then sell those RECs on the energy market in other states.

Despite Vermont’s high RPS and other favorable solar power laws, unlike many states, it has no solar power rebates or income tax credits.

This means that switching to solar will not save you anything on your income taxes, which top out at 8.95% in Vermont. Sales of solar panels and other equipment are not free from sales tax either. Solar customers will receive only the federal tax credit.
However, the state laws regarding RPS, net metering, fee restrictions, and renewable energy credits still help to make solar power an affordable long-term option.
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