Unfortunately Vermont's solar "Net Metering 2.0" rules enacted in 2017 significantly penalized
As a result, Solaflect is temporarily on hold for building our next Solar Park. We're hopeful that the Public Utility Commission "sees the light" and restores favorable rules so we can move ahead with the next in our series of Solar Parks in Vermont, so named because we design ours in a unique way that encourages the local community, and Tracker owners, to use trails on the Solar Park land for a variety of recreational purposes.
What is the Solaflect Community Solar Park?
“Community solar” refers to solar arrays that are shared by members of the community, from individuals and families to local businesses, whether renters or those who live in shaded homes—whatever your situation, you can go solar through the Solaflect Community Solar Park. Different community solar projects have different ownership structures and styles of participation. Be aware that most so-called community solar projects do not actually ensure that participants buy or lease solar power. Solaflect’s community solar project guarantees that you get the real thing. When you go with Solaflect, you honestly and truly go solar.
How does it work?
To join the Solaflect Community Solar Park, purchase a Solaflect PV Tracker and have it installed at the Park. Your Green Mountain Power (GMP) bill will show a credit for 80 percent of the solar output from your tracker. The other 20 percent is allocated to the Solaflect Community Solar Park to cover the costs of providing hosting: land rent, taxes, insurance, and operation and maintenance of the Park. There is a 20-year hosting agreement to participate in the Park, with an option to extend beyond that time.
How much credit will I get on my GMP bill?
Your tracker will provide you with an annual value of approximately $1,000 of net metering credit on your GMP bill in the first year, averaging about $84 per month (assuming typical weather). This value accounts for the 20 percent credit shared with the Solaflect Community Solar Park.
What sort of payback do I get from this?
Your rate of return from participation in Solaflect Community Solar Park depends upon whether you utilize the federal tax credit on your tax return. If you do not take the tax credit (see other information on this topic from Solaflect Energy), the return is about the same as a bank account or money market fund. If you do take the credit, your return is equivalent to a top-performing municipal bond fund and you get your money back in 12-13 years. After that, you get free electricity.
You may see some other solar options costing more and producing less power per dollar invested claiming amazingly high rates of return. Be sure to ask exactly what assumptions are being made to arrive at the claimed values, and ask what method of financial calculation is being used. We will be happy to explain all details of our financial projections.
Can my business participate?
Yes, businesses may also participate. You may be able to claim both the Business Energy Investment Tax Credit and 5.5 year accelerated depreciation (MACRS) on your investment, increasing the financial return. Consult with a tax professional to confirm your use of any tax benefits.
What happens if I move?
If you move to another location within GMP’s service territory, all you have to do is inform us, and we will tell GMP to make sure the credits from your tracker continue to be applied to your bills at the new address. If you move outside of GMP’s service territory, the easiest thing to do is to sell your tracker. If you are selling your home in the process of moving, you might sell the Tracker along with your home or independently of your home. GMP will reassign the credits to the new owner. Of course, it’s your Tracker. If you want to pick it up and take it with you to your new home or business location, you can do so.
What happens if I die?
Participants in Solaflect Community Solar Park own their trackers. Like a vacation home, they are personal property and are covered by the usual rules of inheritance.