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Solar company celebrates first year - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Solar company celebrates first year

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

It's a celebration for getting more Vermonters off the grid.

"It's our goal to bolt this stuff on your roof at no up front cost, essentially installing for free, and then the monthly cost -- you essentially shift your payment from your electricity from the utility to a financing agency that has provided these panels," said Duane Peterson with SunCommon.

Homeowners who sign up will always have the same cost.  What you pay today for electricity, would be the same amount you would pay to rent solar panels from SunCommon.

Johannes Otter is the newest homeowner to install SunCommon's solar panels and hopes to see more Vermonters make the switch to using the sun as a source of energy. "I encourage everyone to do it because it is, it is really necessary for the survival of humanity if we don't move away from carbon fuels," he said.

Joanne Heidkamp joined SunCommon last year, and as her solar panels work hard to create more energy than she's actually using, her meter is now going backwards. "By March, we were actually making more electricity than we use, which means we were putting electricity back on the grid, so in March, Green Mountain Power actually paid us twelve dollars," she said.

Last year, SunCommon installed 250 solar panels on homes and hopes to install at least 500 more this year. "Over the last decades, Vermont's family farms have had a tough go, and if we can help them save money on their energy and protect our environment at the same time, I'm really encouraged about that,"  Duane Peterson said.

Governor Peter Shumlin said he is excited to see the state developing a cleaner carbon footprint. "This is one incredibly important piece of our ability to ensure that Vermont shows the rest of the country how we can power our future with sun and we can build a brighter economic future because of it -- but most importantly -- a cleaner planet," he said.

And after a successful year of working hard to bring solar energy to more Vermont homes -- it's time for some birthday cake.

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