Rob Miller, CEO of VSECU, explains the benefits of the solar energy produced at the Guilford solar farm. VSECU photo.
Vermont Business Magazine VSECU announced today its going solar, unveiling a solar array in Guilford that will allow the 60,000-member, nine-branch credit union to offset its Green Mountain Power electricity consumption by purchasing the net metering credits produced by the array. In a unique partnership with East Dummerston-based solar developer Soveren Solar, VSECU will be able to retire the renewable energy credits (RECs) resulting in 100 percent renewable energy. The partnership also allows VSECU to benefit from the Federal Tax Credit for solar investment, that is typically not available for non-profits. This could be a model for non-profits statewide, further incentivizing renewable energy adoption.
VSECU, a member-owned cooperative and not for profit credit union for everybody in Vermont, said that this unique investment in clean, renewable energy that completely offsets its Green Mountain Power (GMP) electricity consumption. VSECU entered into an innovative partnership with Soveren Solar, through which the credit union will purchase the solar net metering credits produced by a 500kW solar array to offset its GMP power bill.
“We are incredibly proud of this project and worked very hard to ensure it would benefit our cooperative, the environment, and our Vermont communities,” said Rob Miller, CEO of VSECU. “This partnership is especially impactful, as it allows us to further our vision to foster social, environmental, and financial prosperity, and meet the objectives of our environmental mission. We believe this endeavor will be a model to help incentivize non-profit organizations around the country to invest in renewable energy.”
VSECU worked closely with Soveren Solar to maximize the environmental impact and investment incentives, allowing both organizations to benefit from a federal tax credit for investing in renewable energy – a benefit not typically available to not for profit organizations like VSECU. The credit union will purchase the net metering credits at a discounted rate, and has the option to purchase the project after five years. This unique arrangement maximizes the investment potential, and VSECU expects a positive return over the life of the project. RECs typically are sold on a regional green power commodity market, which often sells credits to out-of-state carbon burners.
“What makes this project so unique is that we are investing in affordable, clean energy for our not for profit, member-owned organization. By retiring the associated RECs, the power we are producing and consuming is truly renewable, which was very important to us,” said Laurie Fielder, VGreen Program Director for VSECU. “Further, working with a Vermont-based solar developer and installer, we are proud to support local clean energy jobs in the state and contribute to our state’s efforts to meet its goal of 90 percent renewables by 2050.”
The solar array, which is located in Guilford, was unveiled at a ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday. This initiative builds upon VSECU’s environmental stewardship. The credit union has earned accolades for its “green” branches in St. Johnsbury, Waterbury and Rutland, and offers members affordable, discounted energy loans through its VGreen energy saving solutions.
VSECU is a member-owned cooperative and not for profit credit union for everybody who lives and works in Vermont, offering a full range of affordable financial products and services to its member-owners. VSECU is committed to improving the lives of Vermonters by empowering the possibilities for greater social, environmental, and financial prosperity. For more information about VSECU, call 802/800 371-5162 or visit www.vsecu.com.
Source: MONTPELIER, VT, OCTOBER 25, 2016 – VSECU