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SunCommon aims to bring affordable solar power to Vt homes - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

SunCommon aims to bring affordable solar power to Vt homes

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WILLISTON, Vt. -

If you've thought about putting solar panels on your roof but cannot afford the upfront costs a new Vermont company says it has a solution.

"Vermonters can now save money by going solar," said Duane Peterson of SunCommon.

Thursday, the folks at SunCommon launched an effort to attract homeowners to the alternative energy effort. The company will have customers lease the panels over 20 years.

"The way that works is from the get-go there is no money down so the average Vermont homeowner can put a solar system on the roof without paying any money out of pocket," said James Moore of SunCommon.

The company's co-presidents say 15 people are already signed up and they believe their approach could draw upward of 700 more homeowners in the next 10 months.

"Most Vermonters aren't used to paying for the next 20 years of electric power, but that's effectively what the solar industry used to ask people to do," Moore said.

The entrepreneurs say customers can switch to solar for the same amount or less than they're paying a month for electricity now. SunCommon says consumers will see big savings because solar customers will sign up at a fixed rate.

"As the utility prices increase over the years, they're protected from that because they have a fixed monthly payment for their solar power. So over the life of the panels they should save literally thousands of dollars by going solar," Moore said.

The startup is targeting customers by the masses to keep logistical costs down and is also able to tap into the sun's potential because of sizeable subsidies from the state and federal government.

Right now SunCommon is up and running in Chittenden and Washington counties as well as Stowe, with plans to go statewide.

SunCommon was born out of a yearlong pilot program at the Vermont Public Interest Research Group. Now, it is up and running on its own with 17 staffers.

Click here for more on SunCommon.

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