Advocating for a Brighter Future

SunCommon was founded to address the climate crisis, and built on the pillars of community organizing and activism. It’s our mission to break down the barriers to renewable energy, but we know that our role goes beyond just installing solar panels. Creating a brighter future demands collective advocacy and action. Here’s the story of how we’re using our business as a force for good.

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Current Campaigns

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Vermont’s Public Utility Commission (PUC) is currently reviewing our state’s net metering policy. The Governor’s current proposal would cut Vermont’s current solar incentive by 50% this year and eliminate it completely by next year. Help us send a message to the PUC that they must oppose this drop in our state’s only solar incentive.

 

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With the U.S. trailing most other developed nations when it comes to voter turnout, 2020 is a critical year — We must exercise our right to vote for candidates and policies that will push climate action forward. Working together for a high voter turnout and engaged electorate will ensure the best candidates are elected to address the issues that will lead us forward.

 


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We’re not afraid of getting involved. In fact, it’s what has helped keep us connected to the heartbeat of our community since day one! This timeline shows our deep history of activism, and the wonderful faces along the way who have helped push important movements forward.

February 6, 2020

First inaugural Climate Action Film Festival

SunCommon launches the first Climate Action Film Festival (CAFF), showcasing 11 independent films at 5 sold-out screenings in Vermont and New York’s Hudson Valley. The events raise over $8,800 to support local climate advocacy groups. Attendees were also given the opportunity to sign local petitions and learn how to call..Read More

November 1, 2019
suncommon with habitat for humanity

Fundraising for affordable housing

SunCommon partners with local Habitat for Humanity affiliate groups to advocate for affordable housing. The 2-month program raises over $7,000 for these groups in Vermont and the Hudson Valley.

October 15, 2019
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Support for eliminating student debt

Representative Peter Welch visits SunCommon to spotlight a new employee program to support staff by paying down student loan debt. Congressman Walsh uses SunCommon and other local businesses as examples in a national effort he is leading to address student debt relief. 

September 20, 2019

SunCommoners join the Global Climate Strike

SunCommon employees participate in the global climate strike, helping to bring more attention to the lack of tangible progress being made in addressing the global climate crisis. While some members of staff held signs in solidarity as they continued their work selling and installing solar, dozens of others attended strike..Read More

September 1, 2019
drive electric pledge from suncommon

Drive Electric Pledge launches

SunCommon launches the “Drive Electric Pledge” which states: “We pledge not to purchase or lease any fossil fuel burning vehicles as long as there are viable electric alternatives. We make this commitment, for our business and/or personal use, for now and in the future.” In addition to urging others to..Read More

May 22, 2019

Employees plant 1,200 trees in one day

Taking a day off from building solar, SunCommon employees set a record by planting 1,200 trees in one afternoon with Friends of Winooski River. These trees will protect eroding riverbanks and sequester carbon.

April 11, 2019
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SunCommon advocates for paid family leave

SunCommon co-founder, Duane Peterson, lobbies at the State House for a mandatory paid family leave program in Vermont, but the legislation does not pass. SunCommon has always offered its own paid family leave program that over 20 staff members have utilized. 

March 9, 2019

Pointe of Praise Family Life Center Goes Solar

SunCommon flips the switch on the 1200-panel Pointe of Praise Community Solar Project in Kingston, NY. This solar array provides electricity for the church and local community members, and a portion of the array’s electricity will go to low and moderate-income members of the congregation. (A second array of similar..Read More

February 8, 2019

Governor Phil Scott visits SunCommon

Governor Phil Scott visits SunCommon to learn about our market-solution to climate change and share his views. SunCommon staff advocate for more action on addressing the climate crisis from the Scott administration.

February 5, 2019

SunCommon partners with Vermont Works for Women

SunCommon launches a partnership with Vermont Works for Women, fundraising and supporting their ‘Rosie’s Girls’ and ‘Woman Can Do’ programs. Vermont Works for Women and their campaign “Change the Story” have been incredible guides to SunCommon in working to develop and advance gender equity initiatives in our business and communities.

December 1, 2018
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SunCommon partners with The Vermont Foodbank

This holiday campaign raises $6,630 for the Vermont Foodbank to help fight food insecurity across the state. In a state where 1-in-4 Vermonters face hunger every day, $6,630 can purchase 11,000 meals, or more than 13,000 pounds (6.5 tons!) of food — or, in other words, it can feed two..Read More

November 1, 2018
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SunCommon works to advance gender equity in the workplace

SunCommon co-founder, Duane, is a founding member of Male Champions for Change, a project of the Vermont Women’s Fund’s “Change the Story” project. This initiative brings together male business executives who are committed to use their leadership to elevate gender equity as an issue of social and economic importance in..Read More

August 15, 2018
bernie sanders at suncommon office in waterbury vermont

SunCommon staff ask for help from Bernie Sanders

Senator Bernie Sanders visits SunCommon’s Waterbury office  and speaks with staff members about where the business has found success, as well as where the industry at large can receive more support to continue effectively  taking on the climate crisis.

July 9, 2018
hurricane maria relief trailer project

Solar-powered trailer to support Puerto Rico hurricane recovery

SunCommon builds and then sends a solar-powered relief trailer to Puerto Rico with AMICUS collaboration. The trailer generates off-grid solar power for communities impacted by the hurricane, providing charging stations as well as a water filtration system. 

May 22, 2018

Hudson Solar joins forces with SunCommon

The partnership between Hudson Solar and SunCommon helps accelerate local clean energy growth by creating new jobs and investment in Waterbury and the greater Hudson Valley.

November 8, 2017
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Community Solar pilot program for low & moderate-income households

Green Mountain Power & SunCommon organize the first CSA for low and moderate-income Vermonters. The 325-panel solar system is located on the roof of GMP’s service center in Middlebury and provides power to 35 local families. 

September 5, 2017

SunCommon supports hurricane relief efforts

SunCommon hosts a Hurricane Harvey relief event at its Waterbury Headquarters, raising funds in support of recovery efforts in hard-hit areas of Louisiana and Texas.

October 23, 2016

SunCommon leads advocacy efforts to protect Vermont solar industry

Vermont’s Public Utility Commission recommends decreasing the value of solar net metering, so SunCommon rallies more than three-fourths of the total public comments in opposition. The damaging changes go through despite these advocacy efforts, and major damage is done to community solar opportunities across the state.  

September 15, 2016
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New solar + battery storage program launches

SunCommon and Vermont’s largest utility, Green Mountain Power, partner to launch the state’s first residential solar and battery storage program. Energy storage is essential to creating a grid powered entirely by renewable energy. 

July 1, 2016
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New net-positive Vermont office opens

SunCommon moves into its new 12,000 square-foot office and warehouse facility in Waterbury, VT. The solar panels on site produce more energy than the building uses, which makes it net energy positive. It wins several “green building” awards and serves as inspiration for others in the region. 

June 16, 2015

SunCommon 401k divested from fossil fuels

SunCommon’s 401k retirement plans are divested from climate-harming fossil fuels and instead are invested in the clean energy economy. As of 2020, SunCommon employees own $3.2 million in this employer-sponsored wealth creation plan. 

October 23, 2014
waltham community solar array

SunCommon pioneers new community solar option

SunCommon pioneers a new approach to residential solar that allows Vermonters to go solar with no upfront cost and no long-term commitment. SunCommon builds over 30 Community Solar Arrays (CSAs) starting in 2014, quickly racking up 8% of U.S. market share within 2 years. The first community array built in..Read More

September 21, 2014
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Team members march for the climate in New York City

SunCommoners and other Vermont B Corps share a bus to attend The People’s Climate March in New York City, to demand action addressing the climate crisis. The event stands as the largest climate change march in history, with over 300,000 people in attendance. Described as “an invitation to change everything,”..Read More

August 17, 2014
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Sun CARnival advocates for electric transportation

SunCommon hosts its first “Sun CARnival” in Burlington, designed to advocate for and excite the community about transitioning to electric vehicles. Hundreds attend the inaugural Sun CARnival, and it becomes a yearly event. U.S. transportation makes up the largest segment of fossil fuel emissions in the United States, so emission-free..Read More

March 6, 2012
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SunCommon launches in Vermont as Certified B Corp

SunCommon officially launches as a Public Benefit Corporation and Certified B Corp, committed to advancing a triple bottom line business model that equally supports people, planet, and profit. The launch event is held at SunCommon’s new office, The Energy Mill*, and is attended by 16 founding SunCommoners, Governor Peter Shumlin,..Read More

February 24, 2010
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Future SunCommoners help shut down Vermont Yankee nuclear plant

Vermont’s future co-founders run a successful legislative campaign to shut down the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant. While the bill passes with flying colors in the state legislature, it’s attacked by high-dollar nuclear special interests and overturned in 2012. Public outcry against the plant, however, leads to its ultimate closure in..Read More

July 2, 2007
hudson solar office

Hudson Solar builds net energy positive office

The Hudson Solar team moves into a brand new office built to produce more energy that it consumed. This style of “net energy positive” building was a new concept in the region at that time and earned Hudson Solar bragging rights among the growing community of green builders. 

December 1, 2002
jeff irish first installation

Hudson Solar installs first solar system

Hudson Solar founder Jeff Irish installs a solar system at his home in Rhinebeck, NY to reduce his own dependency on fossil fuels. Shortly afterwards, he begins receiving calls from friends and neighbors asking about solar for their own homes. Jeff completes 11 solar installs in 2003.

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Advocacy & Activism

 

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