Rooftop Solar Helps Susan Coté Reduce Her Carbon Footprint
Susan Coté in Williston didn’t feel good about her carbon footprint. She wanted to be less reliant on fossil fuels and more energy efficient. She found the green solution she was looking for – rooftop solar from SunCommon. She likes that we’re a local, Vermont solar company and that we’re a Certified B Corporation, which means we’re legally committed to using business as a force for good.
Look how psyched she is now that she added a whopping 19.2 kW system (that’s 60 solar panels!) in May 2018!
How Does Solar Work?
Now that you are envisioning a beautiful solar array on your home or property, or falling in love with the idea of supporting a community solar project, you may be wondering, how does solar work? The basics of solar are relatively simply. Find out how solar works by clicking below.
Monday, March 4, 2019 — OUR NEWEST COMMUNITY SOLAR ARRAY IS ON AND GENERATING POWER IN KINGSTON, NEW YORK
The ribbon has been cut on the newest SunCommon community solar array hosted by the Pointe of Praise Family Life Center in Kingston. The sun was shining brightly for this joyous occasion as about 30 array members, organizations, and local officials celebrated the project’s official energizing alongside SunCommon employees.
This 485.1 kWp community solar array will help power approximately 60 homes in the area with locally generated, clean energy. Anyone who has Central Hudson as their utility provider can join the project by purchasing panels in the communal array. The utility company digitally monitors the array’s energy production and then adds solar credits onto the array members’ utility bills. Because the solar panels are offsite, this is a great solution for people who cannot install solar panels where they live.
Kingston Mayor Steve Noble who was present for the ribbon cutting ceremony noted “Folks may not know, but over 50% of the people who live in Kingston are renters. Community solar is a way for renters to lock in and reduce their utility rates over time and do it in a renewable way.”
Reverend Childs, reverend from the Pointe of Praise Family Life Center, also noted increasing access to solar was an important draw to the project for him and the center. “We were very concerned that most low moderate income people were not able to take advantage of solar. If you didn’t have a house, you didn’t have solar, and we felt we wanted to see people who are in apartments, people who are poor and who really need to have this, to be able to have it. So this project was ideal for us.”
Reverend Childs made the project even more impactful by donating solar panels to seniors in the church. He said, “We’ve given about 75% of our solar panels to our seniors. They’re going to be getting solar for free.” This generous donation means the project is broadening access to solar even more. He noted, “We are really grateful for this because it’s going to provide an opportunity for people who would otherwise not be able to do this to have solar.”
Only 35% of the array’s panels are still available for purchase. Folks who are interested in becoming members of the array can get in touch with SunCommon for more information.
Here’s How Community Solar Works
Members of a CSA use solar credits produced by that array to reduce or eliminate their utility bill. The only requirement to become a member of a Community Solar Array is that you must live within the same utility load zone as the array. Since most utility load zones span counties, towns, and zip codes, our Solar Advisors can help determine which array you would belong to.
Ask if joining a CSA is right for you
Want to learn more about how Community Solar works?
For information on how community solar works in general, you can visit our Community Solar page by clicking on the button below. There you will find helpful information on how to become a CSA member, how CSAs actually work, and more. If you have any additional questions, feel free to contact us directly.
Solar Power in the Winter: Easier and Better than a Squirrel Collecting Nuts
You might have heard some folks claim that “solar doesn’t work up north.” Because “there’s not enough sun.” Well, we’re here to tell you that that’s just not true. At SunCommon, we look at your year-round energy usage and then design a solar system to match it. There’s a lot of complicated math that goes into engineering your system, but the concept is simple:
You know how squirrels collect acorns all summer and fall, because they know they will need them through the winter? That’s basically what you’ll do with your energy. During long summer days, your panels will produce more energy than you need, which builds up credits with your utility company (it’s why our customers have negative bills in the summer months). Then during the winter, when your panels are producing less, you get to use those credits you earned during summer.
Our customers will tell you, solar DOES work up north. Here’s what Sara had to say:
“It’s not often one gets a utility bill and says ‘hooray’, but I just did… my bill read -$190.91. In fact every bill since April has been a credit. ‘How?’ you may ask. Thanks to SunCommon! At this point, my summer credits will probably last me through the winter. I have been so pleased with SunCommon, their community vision, their commitment to non-polluting energy generation, and their service.”
— Sara Lourie, SunCommon CSA member
Want more info on how solar works with your utility?
We build solar systems that work with your utility. That means you can produce more solar than you need all summer long, and use those credits in the winter when your system is producing less energy. You can to enjoy the benefits of on demand energy and zero out your energy costs, swapping your utility bill for a solar payment. Find out more about how solar works by clicking below.
We have the capacity to reduce our country’s energy needs by 25%, simply by increasing efficiencies. To fully power our growing economy with clean energy, we need to reduce our energy usage while also building more renewable sources.
While we look to our local, state, and federal governments for leadership in energy efficiency, we can do our bit by making changes to our own energy usage—in our cars, homes, and habits. SunCommon can help you shift to renewables with solar and reduce your fossil fuel dependence with electric heat pumps, but we want to cover all our bases when it comes to energy solutions. That’s why we’re partnering with groups like Heat Squad, Button Up Vermont, & Efficiency Vermont this fall.
They can help you analyze your energy usage and take steps to reduce it, through energy audits, weatherization, and installing high-efficiency appliances. These organizations, like us, are committed to helping you take advantage of technology to make your life greener and more energy efficient.
We’ll be hosting and attending events across the region to give you information, actionable steps, and opportunities to save money and energy by heating & cooling with solar power. So come join us as we button up for winter! Click on event links below to learn more, and keep an eye on our main events page for more as they get scheduled!
Find energy events near you
October 20 @ 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
The Doane Stuart School, 199 Washington Ave, Rensselaer, New York
Solar & Home Energy Savings Workshop
Saint Albans Free Library, 11 Maiden Ln, St Albans City, Vermont
October 18 @ 1:00 – 8:00 pm
SUNY New Paltz, Benjamin Center at Student Union, New Paltz, New York
Solar & Home Energy Savings Workshop
Montgomery Center for the Arts, 2 Mountain Rd, Montgomery Center, Vermont
Maple Grove Campground in Georgia, VT Goes Solar.
Maple Grove Campground contacted SunCommon in July of 2017 to discuss the possibility of going solar. You might not think that a campground would consume that much energy, but dozens of RVs and other travelers use power hookups for lights, generators, and electronics every day. The potential impact of going solar for Maple Grove was significant.
In November of 2017, SunCommon broke ground on a 60 panel ground mounted system, in the field adjacent to the campground, that would ultimately meet a third of Maple Grove’s energy needs. The project was completed in less than two weeks!
Maple Grove Campground offers RV, camper, lean-to, and tent sites with full amenities. It’s nestled in a lush maple grove in beautiful Fairfax, VT, and it is one of the first campgrounds in Vermont to be powered by the sun!
“We love the quality of life in Vermont that stems from building small, sustainable communities. It’s the reason we moved to the state and haven’t left. These new solar panels allow us to do our part and keep Vermont green, and we can’t wait to share that with our campers.”
— Maple Grove campground owner Mike McGuiness
About The Maple Grove Campground
The Maple Grove Campground is the ideal Vermont location for a peaceful camping getaway featuring RV and tent sites with full amenities. The owner Michael McGuiness, born in Newburgh, NY in 1966, has spent most of his life enjoying good, old-fashioned camping trips and recreational with family and friends. Michael’s passion for camping and family has brought him to give back to the community in the same way that the community supported him, by giving generations to come a peaceful place to enjoy recreation and nature at his site, the Maple Grove Campground.
Maple Grove Campground 1627 Main Street Fairfax, VT 05454
About the Installation
- 62.5 kilowatts in total
- Produces around 23,300 kilowatt hours annually
- 60 350-Watt panels, on 3 separate arrays
SunCommon’s Community Solar Advisors take a consultative approach to educating customers about the growing role solar is playing in our clean energy future and how they can participate. We are looking for an enthusiastic, mission-driven person with a strong work ethic, the ability to effectively connect with customers by phone, and a focus on meeting sales goals. The successful candidate will have an entrepreneurial mindset, consistently working with an eye toward building the business through networking and referrals. Community Solar Advisors help people become members of Community Solar Arrays through phone and email communications.
This position requires tact, adaptability and a high degree of customer service and professionalism, with a drive to make sales happen. In this growing industry, new product and partnership opportunities, advances in technology and adjustments in regulations require the ability to change direction quickly with grace and enthusiasm. We’ll need you to keep accurate and detailed records of phone conversations and email communication with homeowners in our CRM database.
Most communication happens during normal work hours Monday-Friday, but we are there for our customers to follow up when they need us – which may include nights and weekends.
Community Solar Advisors are also required to have a technical grasp of how solar energy works to educate customers who have specific questions. SunCommon provides all essential training.
ESSENTIAL JOB FUNCTIONS
Connect with leads via phone/email to sell Community Solar Array memberships
Establish and build rapport with the customer
Generate leads and sales through networking and referral opportunities
The ability to genuinely exhibit a positive, enthusiastic, trustworthy personality by phone is absolutely key
Clearly explain the value of solar, and speak eloquently and passionately about our mission
Determine customer’s current and projected electrical usage and solar savings
Convey clear understanding of our sales process and contract agreements — and be able to create, explain and review agreements to close customers
Close sales – not by taking customer orders but by gathering information and building the relationship to understand the customer’s needs and customize options to meet them
Finalize deals, have customers sign agreements electronically and collect relevant information and deposit (when necessary)
Thrive in an ever-changing industry, tackling new opportunities with a positive attitude
Accurately and timely documentation – follow established protocols and log all communications with customers in CRM contact database
Effective time management and prioritization in order to contact customers in a timely manner
Operate in collaborative team atmosphere – giving and taking feedback to improve your personal performance as well of that of your team and the entire business
Personality and experience. Do you revel in customer interaction and sales? You might be the newest SunCommon Community Solar Advisor
Two+ years successful sales experience, and Bachelor’s degree or combination of experience and education
Solar industry experience is a plus but not required
Proficiency in using IT hardware (iPhone, MacBook) and software (MSOffice, CRM and file management)
Demonstrated experience in tracking progress toward goals, communication with customers and following established protocols
Strong and professional communication skills are needed. This includes the ability to speak clearly and articulately on the phone, and to write clear and efficient emails
Strong organizational skills, including the ability to effectively handle multiple priorities at any given time
Flexible schedule, including some evening and weekend work
Desire to stay on the leading edge of the solar and renewable energies industry
Strong and confident team player with solid relationship building skills
Demonstrated commitment to social change