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SANDERS, ENERGY CO-OP OF VERMONT KICK OFF SOLAR HOT WATER PROGRAM

Innovative Co-op Solar Program Back And Better For 2013

Shelburne, VT – Senator Bernie Sanders, Andrew Perchlik from the Department of Public Service and CEDF, David Blittersdorf, CEO of AllEarth Renewables and Board Member of the Energy Co-op of Vermont, Tom Berry from Sen. Leahy’s office, Jon Copans from Congressman Welch’s office, and local officials joined members of the Energy Co-op of Vermont and Sunward Systems to officially launch the 2013 Co-op Solar program. The announcement came Monday during a press conference and kick off event held at the Sunward Systems headquarters in Shelburne, VT.

“What is particularly exciting about this program is that people can move in this direction without spending any more money on their fuel bills than they currently are, because they’re going to pay off their loan from the credit union by reduced fuel costs. That is exactly the right direction to go”, said Senator Sanders in his opening remarks. “What we’re going to be doing here is cutting back on fossil fuels, we’re going to be creating jobs, we’re going to be making Vermont a leader in the movement towards sustainable energy.” added Sanders.

By partnering with a local manufacturer of the solar hot water heating equipment, Co-op Solar offers deeply discounted systems that are assembled in Vermont. Further savings come from a 30% federal tax credit and a state incentive of up to $1,200, resulting in up to 50% off the typical cost. “These new solar hot water systems will pay for themselves through energy savings”, said John Quinney, general manager at the Energy Co-op.

“We are really excited about this partnership because we think that this is the kind of innovative marketing and innovative financing that solar hot water needs.” said Andrew Perchlik, Executive Director of CEDF. Congressman Welch’s Deputy State Director Jon Copans added, “This collaboration between Sunward Systems and the Energy Co-op of Vermont is exactly the kind of story he’s planning to bring down to Congress. The product is being assembled here in Vermont by a Vermonter. Then we have jobs to install that product on people’s homes. We’re saving Vermonters money on their energy bill. And finally, we’re reducing our fossil fuel use and our greenhouse gas emissions. So it really is a win-win-win situation here in Vermont.” Tom Berry, legislative aid to Senator Leahy, offered “Where it’s getting done right now in the United States on climate change and energy conservation is the local level. Senator Leahy would like to offer his congratulations to all the partners making this happen on the ground in Vermont right now, creating jobs and conserving energy.”

With the costs of fossil fuels continuing to rise, solar hot water systems can save a typical, four-person household, thousands of dollars in the uncertain years ahead. Co-op Solar systems can be financed through local credit unions and banks, which helps to make the program accessible to just about anyone. Certified local contractors install the solar hot water heating systems, usually in less than a day. “It may be the best investment you can make for your home and planet,” said Quinney.

The program has been expanded for 2013 and is open to any home or business owner within the service territory of the Energy Co-op of Vermont, including Chittenden County and parts of Grand Isle, Franklin, Lamoille, and Washington counties. The Co-op Solar program runs through April 30th, though state incentive funds may run out sooner. Solar open houses and public information events are planned and will be taking place in the Co-op Solar communities. Interested participants can sign up for a free, no obligation site assessment to see how much they can save by going solar. The online sign up form and additional information can be found at www.Co-opSolar.net.

The Energy Co-op of Vermont is a member-owned cooperative, delivering fuel oil, kerosene and wood pellets, and offering the installation and servicing of efficient heating equipment to a membership of 2,100 Vermonters. For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Ben Griffin by phone at (802) 395-1388 or by email at ben@ecvt.net.

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