Local Businesses Donate Solar Power

Two Central Vermont businesses—The Alchemist and S.T. Paving—have gone solar, but with an unexpected twist. The solar panels on their roofs, installed in collaboration with SunCommon, are producing more power than their facilities need, so they’re sharing it.

The Alchemist Brewery

The Alchemist will be donating that extra power to the Waterbury Senior Center, averaging $250 of clean power each month. “At the Alchemist, we’ve focused on both making good beer and building community from the beginning,” said Jen Kimmich, co-founder of The Alchemist. “The Waterbury Senior Center is an important part of Waterbury Village. They create social opportunities, serve meals, and run daily activities for the community. Now, the Center will be able to count on lower electric bills for years to come.”

“Every little bit helps. If we don’t have to use our funds to pay for power, we can do more for the community… such as buying more food! It really helps,” said Karol Johansen, Director of the Waterbury Senior Center.

S.T. Paving’s solar roof

S.T. Paving, a long-time Waterbury business and asphalt paving company, worked with SunCommon to install 156 solar panels on their shop roof, again, producing more power than the shop uses. Owner John Reynolds is sharing the excess with his own home and the homes of four of the company’s long-time employees.

How do you “share” solar power? Through a state program called Group Net Metering, the employees and the Senior Center receive solar credits on their electric bills each month. The utility, in this case Green Mountain Power, uses their billing system to keep track.

For Reynolds, the decision to go solar was primarily financial. “The tax incentives were great, I’ve got the roof space at my shop, and the numbers made sense. It’s a wise investment.” Reynolds went on to say that as time goes on, it is the environmental impact and sharing aspect that has him most excited.

For more information about SunCommon’s commercial solar program, visit suncommon.com.

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