The Mountain Times

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GMP partners with the nations largest solar developer, NRG

Green Mountain Power (GMP) made an announcement last week that will bring Rutland one step closer to its goal of becoming the solar energy capital of New England. Employees from the utility company joined local officials, members of the press and community representatives to hear about a new partnership with the company NRG Energy.

NRG, based in New Jersey, is the country's largest solar developer and they specialize in residential solar solutions. The company recently signed an agreement with GMP that will allow them to pilot a central lease solar program in Rutland. This will include two 150 watt solar arrays in the city and a downtown office for NRG.

Formerly, consumers who opted for solar energy had to buy the equipment outright or lease the equipment often facing large upfront costs and lengthy contracts. Many potential customers in Rutland were unable to install residential solar because of costs, inadequate roofing, shading issues, or the fact that they don't own their own home.

The Vermont Community Solar Program aims to remove all these obstacles. There are no upfront costs or solar panels on your roof; they plan to offer flexible contracts and shorter commitments. Anyone can sign up for this effort to reduce the cost of electricity while helping grow alternative energy production. It will work similarly to a share in a farm or Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) membership.

"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," said GMP President and CEO Mary Powell at the press conference. "Many participants are likely to pay less for solar energy than they are paying today on their electric bills," she said.
Scott Fisher, director of alternative energy at NRG echoed the benefits of the program, saying, "We see this as a test case for new ways to bring the benefits of solar to more people."

The project will begin with 50 Rutland residents in the solar community, NRG will then build its first solar farm in the city and the dividends from that farm will be divided among the members.

Rutland mayor Chris Louras, who has been a supporter of GMP's involvement in Rutland, said he is pleased by the recent developments. "We are seeing intellectual capital invested in Rutland, through the Energy Innovation Center, and this is simply the next step in many. The city is proud of both of these companies and happy to be a partner."