NRG Energy built a 150 kW community solar project for the town of Rutland, Vt. The business model for the solar project is unique: 50 Green Mountain Power residential and commercial customers purchased subscriptions to participate in the solar project, rather than purchasing the solar modules, themselves.
Solar gardens are helpful for people who don’t own their own property, or who live in a shady area or cannot afford the upfront capital cost of their own solar array.
Steve Costello, a spokesman for Green Mountain Power, said, “Rather than purchasing the panel, they’re subscribing to the panels. It (the solar garden) is divided by 50 customers, and each customer gets 1/50th of the output accredited to their electric bill. We have very aggressive net metering.”
Costello said that after paying their monthly subscription fee, customers should have a net savings each month based on how much energy the solar array is projected to generate.
Green Mountain Power, which serves more than 250,000 customers in Vermont, was named 2013 Utility of the Year by the Solar Electric Power Association and 2014 Solar Champion by Vote Solar.