COLCHESTER, Vt. — Green Mountain Power has received the 2011 Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence in recognition of the utility’s “SolarGMP” program, a groundbreaking approach to accelerating the adoption of solar energy by Vermont homes and businesses.
SolarGMP was launched in 2008, when Green Mountain Power became the first utility in Vermont to offer a financial incentive to residential and business customers for each kilowatthour generated by solar panels. The program works in conjunction with existing “net metering” programs, in which Vermonters generating renewable power feed energy back into the grid when it is not needed in the home or business. SolarGMP allows customers to be paid by Green Mountain Power for all solar power generated – at a rate of six cents per kilowatthour above and beyond the net metering benefit.
“SolarGMP has been very successful in dramatically increasing the number of our customers installing solar power,” says Green Mountain Power President and CEO Mary Powell. “The program has accelerated the market for solar energy in our service territory by providing an attractive rate to customers, while also being economical for the utility.”
Prior to SolarGMP, about 20 solar projects were installed per year throughout Green Mountain Power service territory. Today, in just over two years this number has increased ten-fold to 200 installations a year.
“Solar power is especially important on hot summer afternoons, when it produces the most energy at the exact time that people are switching on their air conditioners, causing demand for electricity to soar. Every kilowatt of solar electricity produced is a kilowatt we don’t have to buy at market rates during the hours of peak demand,” Ms. Powell said.
Under the 2011 Energy Bill passed by the Vermont Legislature that took effect on July 1, 2011, all Vermont utilities are required to follow GMP’s lead and pay net metering customers an incentive for each kilowatthour of solar electricity they produce.
About Green Mountain Power
Green Mountain Power (www.greenmountainpower.com) generates, transmits, distributes and sells electricity in the State of Vermont. It serves more than 175,000 people and businesses.