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Vermont Solar Hot Water Initiative Launches

 Three Local Organizations Partner To Roll Out Solar Program

East Montpelier, VT – Three local organizations have joined together to help Vermonters save money by installing solar hot water systems. Sunward Systems is providing the solar collectors, EnergySmart of Vermont is installing the systems, and Washington Electric Co-op (WEC) is offering a discount to its members who go solar. All residents of Washington and Orange counties will receive $500 off an installed solar system. WEC members will receive an additional $250. The program will move to other areas of Vermont next year.

A typical family of four in Vermont spends $600 per year to heat water for domestic use. The Vermont Solar Hot Water Initiative will harness the power of the sun to reduce those costs.

In addition to sales tax-free equipment, savings include a 30% federal tax credit, a Vermont incentive of up to $1200, and additional discounts of $500 – $750 for Vermonters in Orange and Washington counties through December 31. Other areas of the state will follow. The cumulative savings allow for a solar hot water system to be installed at almost 50% off the typical cost.

“Adding a solar hot water system is one of the best ways to make your home more energy efficient and save money. The Vermont Solar Hot Water Initiative lowers the costs even further,” said Sunward CEO Thomas Hughes. Sunward is based in Vergennes.

EnergySmart is a social enterprise venture of the Central Vermont Community Action Council (CVCAC). “EnergySmart knows homeowners want the whole package – homes that are tight and comfortable powered by affordable renewable energy. It’s a great fit with our experience in energy renovations. We see a sustainable home as series of interconnected systems, working together to provide comfort and financial security. The Sunward solar hot water systems deliver both in an attractive, economical package,” said Paul Zabriske, General Manager of EnergySmart and also a member of the Washington Electric Cooperative.

WEC was formed in 1939 to bring electricity to rural Vermont communities and to provide its members with a voice in their energy future. WEC General manager Avram Patt feels that the initiative aligns with the cooperative’s commitments to provide energy from clean and renewable sources, and to help its members use energy efficiently and wisely. “The Vermont Solar Hot Water Initiative supports several aspects of WEC’s mission. Using energy from the sun helps to minimize the environmental impacts from burning fossil fuels and generating electricity. The program also serves to support and promote our local economy and community organizations,” said Patt.

The Vermont Solar Hot Water Initiative is underway and runs through December 31, 2012. To get started, WEC members are encouraged to go to www.washingtonelectric.coop and click on the “Go Solar” link. Vermonters not served by WEC can go to www.GoSunward.com and click the “Free Solar Consultation” link. They can then sign up for a free analysis of their current hot water use, as well as a free solar consultation.

Financing is also available through the VSECU Solar Loan program, www.VSECU.com, which can make the solar hot water systems cash-positive from Day One. For more information, go to www.GoSunward.com or call Sunward toll-free at 1-877-803-2480.

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