RUTLAND, Vt. – Green Mountain Power (GMP) and NRG Residential Solar Solutions, part of NRG Energy (NYSE: NRG), have signed a groundbreaking agreement to pilot a central solar lease program in Rutland, Vermont. The agreement includes the development of two 150-kilowatt solar projects by NRG in the city, adding to GMP’s Solar Capital initiative, and a new NRG office downtown.
The agreement, one of the first of its kind between a utility and solar developer, was announced today at GMP’s Energy Innovation Center. Starting this summer, customers will be able to enroll in a NRG Residential Solar leasing program with no upfront cost and become part of a solar community that supports the development of specific solar projects. Pending approval of the Vermont Public Service Board, the intent is to build one solar farm this year and the second in 2014.
“Through this partnership, customers who have no space for solar or can’t afford to build it themselves will be able to rely on solar energy and support its construction through a low-cost lease program,” GMP President and CEO Mary Powell said. “Many participants are likely to pay less for solar energy than they are paying today on their electric bills.”
“Our goal is to use this pilot to create a solar community between 50 and 100 customers, whose enrollment will support the two projects we will initially build in Rutland,” said Scott Fisher, director of alternative energy at NRG. “We see this as a test case for new ways to bring the benefits of solar to more people.”
“As the country’s largest solar developer, we recognize the importance of making solar work for local communities. We appreciate that GMP is actively exploring ways to make solar a vibrant energy source for the company and its customers. As we looked around the country for the optimal partner to create this pilot, the innovative spirit of GMP and the City of Rutland made them the perfect partner for this pilot program,” Fisher said.
NRG, with corporate headquarters in Princeton, N.J., has already opened a Rutland office in the Service Building on Merchants Row, and has hired Allison Gillette, a recent Emerson College graduate who lives in Rutland, as Vermont solar project coordinator.
“This agreement will produce benefits for participating customers, complements the solar capital and state renewable energy goals, and adds to the growing momentum in downtown Rutland and the city in general,” said Steve Costello, GMP’s vice president for generation and energy innovation.
NRG Residential Solar Solutions has already joined the Rutland Regional Chamber of Commerce, and will participate in Rutland Blooms, the initiative to plant millions of flowers across Rutland. “We are new to Rutland, but expect to become an active member of the community,” Fisher said. “The spirit and excitement we’ve witnessed over the past few months has been inspiring.”