Vermont's electricity prices average $0.18/kWh, above the national average of $0.14/kWh. From 2015 to 2019, solar energy tripled to account for roughly 14% of in-state power generation. Half of this is utility, half small-scale or rooftop.
The average cost of a 5kW (equivalent to saving almost 100 trees a year) solar power system starts around $19,000 in Vermont. Before any incentives, in the first year you’d save about $1,000, compared to if you had been paying the normal rates for the energy you used. These savings can continue for well over 25 years, improving with inflation.
This depends on may factors such as your system size, power output, and financing. Here are the main ways you can finance your home solar power system, and the kinds of returns you may expect to see:
From our example above, the homeowner purchased a 5kW system to offset their energy bill. Overhead cost was $19,000, with a significant proportion returned in the first year through incentives, rebates, and savings, then paying itself in full over ten years.
Most solar power systems have a warranty lifetime of 25 years. In that time, between incentives and paying lower rates you could make a profit of around $20,000 - more than the up-front cost of the system!
Even with occasional maintenance or part replacement, that is a massive savings. Solar panel power output falls on average 0.8% per year, so with a little TLC and load management you can extend the life of your system well beyond the warranty’s expiration date, continuing to save indefinitely.
Whether or not you can afford the up-front cost of the install, you may want to consider a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC). With equity in your home, or good credit, you may qualify for a 15-year solar HELOC with fixed rate of 4% or lower.
Starting with that same 5kW system costing $19,000 but with zero up-front cost, accounting for incentives, credits, rebates, and annual energy savings starting around $1,000, you could see a revenue surplus of about $5,300 at the end of the first year.
Save that money though. Your loan payments will likely exceed your power savings by about $30/month for the 15-year term. Once the loan is paid off, you can expect to save about $1,300 a year. Over 25 years you could expect to make about $14,000.
With a Power-Purchase Agreement (PPA) the homeowner leases their roof to an outside party, usually a power company. Generally PPAs feature a fixed price per kWh, with either a fixed term or an annual escalator.
With a PPA, the cost of installation, repair, and maintenance to the homeowner is usually $0.00. For that 5kW system, with a PPA you could expect to save about $30/month on energy. Over 2 years, you could see over $9,500 in revenue - without accounting for inflation. That’s technically an infinite return!
PPA’s can be complicated, as you are effectively ceding at least some control of your home to the third party, but they are an excellent way to get into solar because they have no overhead.
Data from DSIRE. For more info visit: https://www.dsireusa.org/
|Name||Implementing Sector||Program Type||Administrator||DSIRE ID|
|Renewable Energy Systems Sales Tax Exemption||State||Sales Tax Incentive||44|
|Fuel Source and Environmental Impact Disclosure||State||Generation Disclosure||884|
|Clean Energy Development Fund (CEDF) Loan Program||State||Loan Program||Vermont Department of Public Service||2815|
|Mandatory Utility Green Power Option||State||Mandatory Utility Green Power Option||2899|
|Renewable Energy Rights||State||Solar/Wind Access Policy||3417|
|Expedited Permitting Process for Solar Photovoltaic Systems||State||Solar/Wind Permitting Standards||5293|
|Small Business Energy Loan Program||State||Loan Program||Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA)||5511|
|Commercial Energy Loan Program||State||Loan Program||Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA)||5512|
|Agricultural Energy Loan Program||State||Loan Program||Vermont Agricultural Credit Corporation (VACC)||5513|
|Energy Loan Guarantee Program||State||Loan Program||Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA)||5514|
|Residential Heating Systems Rebate Program||State||Rebate Program||Efficiency Vermont||5694|
|Commercial Kitchen Equipment Rebate Program||State||Rebate Program||5695|
|Renewable Energy Standard||State||Renewables Portfolio Standard||5786|
|Efficiency Vermont - Commercial New Construction||State||Energy Analysis||Efficiency Vermont||14148|
|Efficiency Vermont - Building Performance Program||State||Energy Analysis||Efficiency Vermont||14150|
|Efficiency Vermont - Resource Library||State||Training and Information||Efficiency Vermont||16489|
|Efficiency Vermont - Industrial & Special Equipment||State||Energy Analysis||Efficiency Vermont||20485|
|U.S. Department of Energy - Industrial Assessment Center (IAC): University of Massachusetts||Federal||Energy Analysis||U.S. Department of Energy||21773|
|ISO New England - Demand Resources||Other||Energy Analysis||ISO New England||21799|
|Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships - EM&V Forum||Non-Profit||Training and Information||Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships||22019|
|Burlington Electric Department - Commercial On-Bill Financing Program||Utility||Loan Program||Burlington Electric Department||22102|
|Burlington Electric Department - Commercial Energy Efficiency Rebate Program||Utility||Rebate Program||Burlington Electric Department||22103|