Vermont Solar Rebates And Incentives

Rebates list

Vermont Rebates and Incentives Summary

State of VermontVermont is a Northeastern state that gets an average of roughly 4 kilowatt hours per-square-meter of sunlight per day. While the state doesn’t have the solar resources of Arizona or California, it is making sound investments to become an energy independent state and is focusing on offering incentives to promote its renewable resources, which include solar and biomass.

The state offers residents numerous measures to help them become energy independent, including grants, state rebates, low-interest rate loans, tax incentives (including a 100 percent sales tax exemption) and net metering programs. These incentives are encouraging Vermonters to install photovoltaics (PVs) and other renewable energy sources on their homes or small businesses. The state also allows municipalities to create Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs to help finance renewable energy installations.

Vermont has a renewable energy goal of 20 percent by 2017. The goal is part of the state’s Sustainably Priced Energy Enterprise Development (SPEED) Program. While SPEED is not technically a renewable portfolio standard, if the Vermont Public Service Board finds that the state’s 19 utilities are not meeting the program’s goals, then a renewable portfolio standard will be enforced by law.

Under the program, “all new load growth from Jan. 1, 2005 through July 1, 2012” is to come from SPEED-qualified renewable resources. It’s well on its way, with more than 188,400 MWH of SPEED-qualified power already in operation, and a total of 419,482 MWH of SPEED-qualified electric generation in active development, according to the program’s site, vermontspeed.com. Together they represent about 10 percent of the state’s electricity use as of Jan. 1, 2005, putting the program well on its way to meeting SPEED’s more ambitious 2017 goal.

Since SPEED’s inception, Vermont has added feed-in tariff provisions and a standard-offer contract, under which small energy generators are financially reimbursed for net excess electric generation, to the program. This is in addition to the state’s net-metering law. Home and building owners with PV and other renewable installations may opt to sign up for the standard-fee contract rather than net metering.

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Agricultural Energy Loan Program

The Agricultural Energy Loan Program (AELP), created through Act 87 in 2013, is administered by the Vermont Agricultural Credit Corporation (VACC). The AELP provides loans to agriculture- or forest product-based companies for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. 

The maximum loan amount is $2,000,000, and the percent of the project funded by VACC is negotiable. Loans up to $350,000 can typically be approved internally, loans exceeding $350,000 are presented to the VACC Board monthly for consideration. Loans are provided at variable rates, although fixed rates may be available in some circumstances; current rates can be found here. Loan terms are

Building Energy Standards

Much of the information presented in this summary is drawn from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Building Energy Codes Program and the Building Codes Assistance Project (BCAP). For more detailed information about building energy codes, visit the DOE and BCAP websites.

The 2015 Vermont Commercial Building Energy Standards (CBES) took effect on March 1, 2015. The code is based on the 2015 IECC, with amendments to incorporate ASHRAE 90.1-2013. The new guidelines apply to all commercial construction, including alterations, renovations, repairs, and additions.

The 2015 Vermont Residential Building Energy Standards (RBES) apply to all new homes, alterations, renovations, repairs, and

Burlington Electric Department - Energy Efficiency Rebate Program

Burlington Electric Department (BED) offers a variety of rebate incentives to its commercial customers. The Commercial Energy Efficiency Program provides significant rebates for, HVAC systems, system controls, lighting upgrades, and refrigeration. Equipment must be purchased and installed in the program year to qualify for rebates. Instant rebates at the time of purchase are available for heat pump water heaters and high-performance circulator pumps. Pre-approval is required for rebates on more than 100 pieces of equipment, buildings exceeding 10,000 square feet, and/or $5,000 or more in rebate payments. Customers must indicate the date and place of purchase, along with the size, type,

Burlington Electric Department - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program

Burlington Electric Department offers a variety of rebate incentives that encourage residential consumers to upgrade to energy efficient equipment in the their homes. Rebates are available for clothes washers, conversion to gas clothes dryers, and pool pumps. All installations and conversions are subject to verification from Burlington Electric Department. Interested consumers can check product eligibility and find specific equipment requirements on BED's website.

Clean Energy Development Fund

Vermont's Clean Energy Development Fund (CEDF) was established in 2005 to promote the development and deployment of cost-effective and environmentally sustainable electric power and thermal resources -- primarily renewable energy and combined heat and power (CHP) technologies.

Funding Sources

From its establishment to 2012, the CEDF was supported via annual payments from Entergy (which owns the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant). In return, under terms of two memoranda of understanding between Entergy and the Vermont Department of Public Service (DPS) that expired in March 2012, Entergy was permitted to store its own spent nuclear fuel at the Vermont Yankee site.

Commercial Energy Loan Program

The Commercial Energy Loan Program (CELP), created by Act 87 in 2013, is administered by the Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA). The CELP provides loans to businesses for larger renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.

The maximum loan amount is $2,000,000, and VEDA may fund up to 60% of the project. Loans are provided at variable rates, which are adjusted on a quarterly basis; current rates can be found here. Loan terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, with a maximum loan term of 20 years.

Fees associated with CELP loans include (1) a 1% commitment fee ($1,000 minimum and $3,500

Efficiency Vermont

In June 1999, Vermont enacted legislation authorizing the Vermont Public Service Board (PSB) to establish a volumetric charge on all electric customers' bills to support energy efficiency programs. As a result, in 2000 the PSB established Efficiency Vermont and a funding mechanism to support it. The funding mechanism, which varies by utility, is based on factors unique to each utility's service territory and is reviewed periodically and adjusted as necessary by the PSB.* It should be noted that Burlington Electric Department is not required to fund Efficiency Vermont; it collects its funds and implements its programs directly under a separate

Expedited Permitting Process for Solar Photovoltaic Systems

Vermont has established an expedited permitting process for solar photovoltaic systems that are 15 kilowatts-AC (kW) or less.  In order to interconnect and net meter, electric customers in Vermont must obtain a Certificate of Public Good from the Vermont Public Service Board (PSB). Solar net-metered systems that are 15 kW or less follow an expedited process for the Certificate of Public Good.  To receive a Certificate of Public Good, the customer must register the system with the PSB.  The customer must inform the PSB about the project and comply with the electric utility's interconnection requirements.  If there are any issues with

GMP Solar Power

Green Mountain Power, an investor-owned electric utility operating in Vermont, offers a credit to customers with net-metered photovoltaic (PV) systems. In addition to the benefits of net metering, Green Mountain Power customers with a PV system less than 15 kilowatts (kW) receive a credit of $0.053 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity generated by the system. PV installations larger than 15 kW receive a credit of $0.043 per kWh. This credit is available to all customers of Green Mountain Power. The incentive does not have a specified duration or expiration date.

In order to net meter, customers must first apply for

Home Performance with Energy Star (Existing Residential)

Efficiency Vermont works with homeowners on comprehensive energy efficiency projects and offers several incentives. Single-family homes, as well as multifamily properties with up to four units are eligible. The first step for individual homeowners is to contact Efficiency Vermont or select a certified Home Performance with Energy Star contractor. A list of certified contractors is available on the Efficiency Vermont website. The contractor will conduct and review the energy audit.

There are several levels of incentives. If the efficiency upgrades meet the minimum requirement, a $500 rebate is available. The minimum requirements include at least a 10% air leakage reduction

Interconnection Standards

Vermont has adopted separate interconnection standards for net-metered energy systems that are 150 kW or less, and for all other distributed generation (DG) systems.

Interconnection Standards for Net-Metered Systems 150 kW or less

Vermont requires electric utilities to offer net metering to all customers with solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, wind energy systems, fuel cells, or biomass energy systems.  The maximum system capacity for net-metered systems is 500 kW. Interconnection of net-metered systems rated 150 kW or less are subject to the requirements described Appendix A of the net metering rules (5.100).

Net-metered solar PV systems must conform to applicable electrical

Investment Tax Credit

Vermont offers an investment tax credit for installations of renewable energy equipment on business properties. The credit is equal to 24% of the "Vermont-property portion" of the federal business energy tax credit. For solar, small wind, and fuel cells this constitutes a 7.2% state-level credit for systems placed in service on or before 12/31/2019. This credit will step down (according to the federal tax credit's step-down schedule) to 6.24% for systems placed in service by 12/31/2020 and 5.28% for systems placed in service by 12/31/2021. After this date, solar technologies are eligible for a 2.4% credit. The geothermal tax

Line Extension Alternatives

The Public Service Board (PSB) of Vermont developed rules regarding utility line extension requests. While the majority of the rules focus on the procedure followed (and associated fees) for the actual line extensions, the PSB also included a provision that requires electric utilities to provide written information to customers upon request about off-grid electricity generators as an alternative to line extensions. The PSB recognized that in many cases off-grid electricity generators are less expensive than extending the electricity distribution lines, and therefore customers should be made aware of this option.

Local Option - Property Assessed Clean Energy

Note: In 2010, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which has authority over mortgage underwriters Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, directed these enterprises against purchasing mortgages of homes with a PACE lien due to its senior status above a mortgage. Most residential PACE activity subsided following this directive; however, some residential PACE programs are now operating with loan loss reserve funds, appropriate disclosures, or other protections meant to address FHFA's concerns. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA), a branch of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), has released initial guidelines for using PACE with FHA-secured single or multifamily properties.

Local Option - Property Tax Exemption

Vermont allows municipalities the option of offering an exemption from the municipal real and personal property taxes for certain renewable energy systems (Note: state property taxes would still apply). Eligible systems include, but are not limited to "windmills, facilities for the collection of solar energy or the conversion of organic matter to methane, net-metered systems ... and all component parts thereof including land upon which the facility is located, not to exceed one-half acre." Adoption of this exemption varies by municipality, but the exemption generally applies to the total value of the qualifying renewable energy system and can be applied

Net Metering

Any electric customer in Vermont may net meter after obtaining a Certificate of Public Good from the Vermont Public Service Board (PSB). Solar net metered systems 15 kilowatts (kW) or less follow an expedited process for the Certificate of Public Good, if the customer successfully completes registration (that is, informing the PSB about the project) and complies with his/her electric utility interconnection requirements. In this case, ten days after receiving the certificate of compliance with the interconnection requirements, a Certificate of Public Good is automatically "deemed issued," and the customer may proceed with installation. An application for a Certificate

Renewable Energy Rights

Vermont law forbids ordinances, bylaws, deed restrictions, covenants, declarations, or similar binding agreements from prohibiting (or having the effect of prohibiting) the use of solar collectors, clotheslines, or "other energy devices based on renewable resources." 

A homeowner may be subject to certain restrictions regarding the location of the solar collectors on the roof (orientation to the south or within 45 degrees east or west of due south) as long as those restrictions do not impact the effectiveness of the solar collectors. However, municipal bylaws may not, to any extent, regulate the installation, operation, and maintenance of a solar water heating,

Renewable Energy Standard

Note: In June 2016, the Public Service Board issued an Order implementing the RES. A rulemaking will follow in 2017 or 2018.

In June 2015, H.B. 40 was enacted, establishing a mandatory renewable portfolio standard - called the Renewable Energy Standard (RES) - for the first time in Vermont history. The state previously had a renewable energy goal, as part of the Sustainably Priced Energy Enterprise Development (SPEED) program. 

Eligible Technologies

Eligible renewable technologies are defined as those that use "a technology that relies on a resource that is being consumed at a harvest rate at or below its natural

Renewable Energy Systems Sales Tax Exemption

Vermont's sales tax exemption for renewable energy systems, originally enacted as part of the Miscellaneous Tax Reduction Act of 1999 (H.B. 0548), initially applied only to net-metered systems. The exemption now generally applies to systems up to 500 kilowatts (kW) in capacity that generate electricity using eligible "renewable energy" resources (as defined under 30 V.S.A. § 8002), to micro-combined heat and power (CHP) systems up to 20 kW, and to solar water-heating systems. The exemption is available for grid-tied systems and off-grid systems alike. Vermont's sales tax rate is 6%.

"Renewable energy" is defined under 30 V.S.A. §

Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Programs

Efficiency Vermont provides financial incentives for homeowners to install energy efficient equipment in their homes. Eligible Energy Star equipment includes dehumidifiers, refrigerators, clothes washers and dryers, heat pump water heaters, and swimming pool pumps. The website provides details on eligible makes and models, as well as rebate application forms and specific terms.

Efficiency Vermont also provides discounts for lighting equipment through participating retailers. Efficiency Vermont's website includes a link to a participating retailers and information about qualifying lighting. 

Efficiency Vermont also provides incentives to homeowners who are making more significant investments in insulation, sealing, and HVAC improvements among others through

Residential Heating Systems Rebate Program

Efficiency Vermont offers rebates to residential customers installing new, efficient heating equipment. Through this program, Efficiency Vermont offers $250 rebates to homeowners for efficient propane and oil furnaces and boilers, $600 to $800 discounts for cold climate heat pumps purchased from a participating distributor, $15 to $50 discounts for high performance circulator pumps purchased from a participating distributor, and $2,000 rebates for high-efficiency central wood pellet furnaces and boilers.

Rebate application forms, as well as installation and equipment requirement details, can be found here.

These incentives are available to customers of Burlington Electric Department (BED) as well, but rebate

Residential New Construction Program

For individuals building new homes, Efficiency Vermont offers free technical assistance and targeted rebates to help ensure new homes are built as energy efficient as possible. The first step is to enroll in the Residential New Construction program. Upon enrollment, Efficiency Vermont will review building plans and go over designs to determine estimate energy costs for heating, cooling, hot water, lighting, and appliances. Efficiency Vermont will recommend ways to lower those costs and help the homeowner choose proper energy efficient equipment, lighting, and appliances.

The Residential New Construction Program includes two levels that can be achieved by completing various energy efficiency

Small Business Energy Loan Program

The Small Business Energy Loan Program (SBELP), created by Act 87 in 2013, is administered by the Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA). The SBELP provides loans to businesses for smaller renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. 

The maximum loan amount is $500,000, and VEDA will fund up to 60% of the project. However, in certain cases, VEDA may provide loans under $50,000 that cover up to 75% of project costs. Loans are provided at fixed rates; current rates can be found here . Loan terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, but the maximum loan term is generally 10 years with a

Small-Scale Renewable Energy Incentive Program

Vermont's Small Scale Renewable Energy Incentive Program (SSREIP), initiated in June 2003, currently provides funding for new solar water heating and advanced wood pellet heating installations. The program is available to residential, commercial, institutional, and non-profit entities. Only systems installed by pre-approved installers will be eligible for funding. Funding must be reserved and applications approved before expenditures are made. Fund availability can be found here. Once reservations are granted, applicants have six months to complete their projects and submit the final application. Current incentives are as follows:

Solar Hot Water

  • Residential: $0.40/kWh/yr, up to $3,000.
  • Commercial: $0.40/kWh/yr, up to

Standard Offer Program

Background

In May 2009, Vermont enacted legislation requiring all Vermont retail electricity providers to purchase electricity generated by eligible renewable energy facilities through the Sustainably Priced Energy Enterprise Development (SPEED) Program via long-term contracts with fixed standard offer rates. This policy, commonly known as a "feed-in tariff", is intended to provide a reasonable return on investment to renewable energy facility developers, thereby spurring deployment of renewable energy. In June 2015, Vermont enacted legislation changing the name of the program from the SPEED program to the Standard Offer Program.

Eligibility

Eligible renewable energy facilities include solar, wind, biomass, landfill gas, farm

Uniform Capacity Tax and Exemption for Solar

Statewide Education Property Tax

Vermont fully exempts solar photovoltaic (PV) systems up to 50 kilowatts (kW) from the statewide education property tax.  For systems 50 kW and greater, the state assesses a uniform tax of $4.00 per kilowatt (kW) in lieu of the statewide education property tax. This applies to the equipment, not to the land.

Municipal Property Tax

A system up to 50 kW that is net-metered OR is not connected to the grid and only provides power to the property on which it is located is also exempt from municipal property taxes. A system up to 50 kW that

Vermont Gas - Residential Energy Efficiency Loan Program

Vermont Gas offers low or 0% interest loans through local credit unions in some instances for residential customers to upgrade to a high-efficiency heating system. To be eligible, you must fall into one of these categories: (1) you are converting your home from another fuel to Vermont Gas, (2) you have participated in the Vermont Gas Energy Audit program, and you auditor determined that you would benefit from an upgrade for efficiency and safety purposes, or (3) your current heating system has been red-flagged by a service technician and is not able to be fixed.

Vermont Gas - Residential Energy Efficiency Program

Note: Solar hot water rebates are available for a limited time only. Contact Vermont Gas for more details.

Vermont Gas offers rebates for residential customers who replace existing heating equipment or water heaters with more energy efficient ones. Rebates vary depending on technology, from $100 for a tankless water heater to $600 for a hot water boiler. All equipment must meet program efficiency requirements. Customers can use any natural gas certified contractor. Contractors should complete a Heat Loss Analysis to select appropriate equipment for the home.