Energy Co-op of Vermont,The Energy Co-op of Vermont’s Co-op Solar hot water heating program has received the Vermont Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence for its contributions to protecting the environment, conserving energy, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The Vermont Governor’s Awards (SEE STORY) were established in 1993 to ‘recognize the actions taken by Vermonters to conserve and protect natural resources, prevent pollution, and promote environmental sustainability.’ In 2012, the innovative solar program led to the installation of over 40 solar hot water systems in Chittenden County, keeping an estimated 70,000 lbs of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and saving Vermonters approximately $500,000 over the lifetime of the systems.Energy Co-op General Manager John Quinney and Program Coordinator Ben Griffin accepted the award on behalf of the Vermont residents, business owners and partners who participated in the 2012 program. Deb Markowitz, Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, presented the award at UVM’s Davis Center on Tuesday evening, May 14th saying ‘The Co-op Solar program was designed to make solar simple and affordable by forming strategic partnerships, negotiating volume discounts, and providing cost-effective financing to reduce the overall cost. Others are now using this model to promote solar installations around the state.’The Energy Co-op of Vermont also announced that the deadline for the 2013 Co-op Solar program has been extended until July 1st, due to the high level of interest in the program and the continued availability of state incentive funds. Since its launch in February, over 500 Vermonters have signed up for a free solar site assessment available through the program to see how much they can save by going solar. Senator Bernie Sanders shared high praise for the program at the 2013 kick-off event saying, ‘What is particularly exciting about this program is that people can move in this direction without spending any more money on their fuel bills than they currently are, because they’re going to pay off their loan from the credit union by reduced fuel costs. That is exactly the right direction to go.’The state of Vermont offers a $900 – $1200 incentive towards the installation of the Co-op Solar systems through its Clean Energy Development Fund (CEDF). A federal tax credit of 30% brings the net cost down even further. Coupled with the discount through the Co-op, the cost of a typical system has been reduced by almost 50%. Financing is also available through local banks and credit unions, helping the solar systems to be installed with little to no upfront costs. ‘We are really excited about this program because we think that this is the kind of innovative marketing and innovative financing that solar hot water needs.’said Andrew Perchlik, Executive Director of CEDF.In addition to extending the program’s deadline, the service area has been expanded for 2013 and is open to any home or business owner in Northwestern and Central Vermont. A Co-op Solar open house will be held Saturday, May 18th in Shelburne from 10am to 2pm at Sunward Systems (6221 Shelburne Road, Suite 210), the Vermont-based manufacturer of the solar hot water systems. Attendees can learn more about how the solar systems work and sign up for the program. Other educational events are planned and will be taking place in the Co-op Solar communities. Interested participants can get more details and also sign up for a site assessment online at www.Co-opSolar.net(link is external). The Energy Co-op of Vermont is a member-owned cooperative, delivering fuel oil, kerosene and wood pellets, and offering the installation and servicing of efficient heating equipment to a membership of 2,100 Vermonters. For more information about the Co-op or its Co-op Solar program, or to schedule an interview, please contact Ben Griffin by phone at (802) 395-1388 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org(link sends e-mail).
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