Norwich Solar just completed three small community solar arrays near Starlake Lane in Norwich, Vermont. This net-metered community solar is another great example of the Community Impact Investor work that we have pioneered.
Norwich resident Norm Levy, a member of the Norwich Energy Committee and passionate supporter of reducing energy bills for lower-income Vermonters, is the Community Impact Investor in the project.
Norm Levy is a retired physician who is passionate about clean energy and efficiency, especially for lower-income families. He has donated over 1,000 LED bulbs to Upper Valley families and was looking at additional ways to make an impact on utility bills for lower-income families while maximizing his available money for investment.
How It Works
For lower income families in affordable housing communities such as Starlake Lane, reducing electricity costs can be a challenge. Financing solar or efficiency projects may be difficult, and the process can be time consuming. Community solar allows a collection of residents, such as Starlake, to go solar and save money with no upfront costs and minimal headache. While traditional investors shy away from residential community solar and especially community solar for lower income families, Norwich Solar has developed a network of Community Impact Investors to invest in projects like Starlake.
Solar net metering credits go to 14 single family homeowners at Starlake Lane. The Starlake Lane land is owned and managed by Twin Pines Housing—the Upper Valley expert in affordable housing. The homeowners buy the solar net metering credits at a discounted rate, saving money on their electricity bills while fostering clean locally produced solar electricity.
The solar project consists of three 15 kW-AC (22 kW-DC) solar arrays—each with 64 REC Solar 345-Watt solar panels individually optimized and monitored using SolarEdge inverter technology. In addition to the Community Impact Investor vehicle, the project was designed and constructed by Norwich Solar, interconnected by Green Mountain Power, with electrical work by Britelite Electric and site preparation work by HB Logging.
Norwich Solar Scope
The Community Impact Investor program at Norwich Solar was the perfect vehicle to allow Norm to invest in a community solar project for 14 residences plus COVER home repair—providing a substantial discount (well above a standard solar investor model) off the solar net metering credits. Additionally, Norm is hopeful that the community will take ownership of the solar project after the five-year tax period is complete and he has recouped much of his initial investment. Norm is also planning to repeat his investment, further maximizing his impact and mission.