Governor Phil Scott visited the SunCommon offices to talk about solar and energy independence.
Vermont State Governor Phil Scott visited SunCommon’s Waterbury headquarters to share his thoughts on energy independence. Over 120 SunCommon employees attended, from all departments—even our install crews came indoors for the event! Opportunities like this don’t happen every day, and we were all eager to hear from the Governor about his plan to help Vermont reach its renewable energy goals in the coming years.
During his talk, the Governor acknowledged the valuable work we do here at SunCommon and noted our unique opportunity to bring people together around a common goal:
“Energy independence, from my perspective, is the goal. That’s where we want to be. Now I believe the climate is changing. I believe we should be doing everything we can to wean ourselves off of carbon-emitting fuels. Not everybody believes that, but [everybody] does want to save money. They want to be energy independent. So if we can agree on the goal, where we all want to go, I think we all get there together.”
– Governor Scott
The Governor also wanted to hear from us—the folks working in this industry every day. He was impressed that our company’s median age is only 32 and connected that back to his goal of bringing more young people into Vermont.
“Our Governor visited SunCommon today, to see firsthand our commitment to clean energy, economic development, and good job creation. He seemed to delight in the sea of our employees’ faces, celebrating the real benefits of re-energizing Vermont’s economy.”
– Duane Peterson, SunCommon Co-President
How do I go solar?
The process for going solar is simple. It starts with filling out our get started form. You can do so by clicking the get started button. If you want to know more details about the process and the steps involved between signing up and turning on the power, click the button below to find out more.
Have you heard that Central Hudson delivery charges are going up 10% in 2019, and again in 2020?
Central Hudson has announced that their rates will be going up the next two years. Their delivery charges just increased 10% in July, and will go up 10% again in 2020. Avoid surprise bill hikes by going solar with us now. Your new solar electric system will give you a fixed monthly payment, with each payment getting you closer to owning your solar outright (and ditching a monthly bill all together).
Going solar provides you with control and predictability, because your payment is never going to go up. Why does this matter? Well, if your boiler goes, the kids need new jackets or your car gets a flat, and then in that same month your utility bill increases? That’s going to be a tough pill to swallow. Solar can’t help with the first three, but it can certainly help with the last one.
With utility power, you are locked into an agreement where the rules can change at any time. You never signed anything with them, but you are in a contract that lasts a lifetime. As long as you need power, you are going to have to pay them. Why not get in a contract where you know what you’re paying, and in the end, the contract is with yourself? Unless you plan on going without lights or appliances, you are in an agreement where the price can go up at any time, and without warning for no reason.
How long do you plan on paying for energy?
It’s likely that you will always need energy for your home. Buying power from our utility or your fuel dealer is like paying rent – you pay every month but never build equity or lasting value.
When you go solar, you stop the cycle of paying for electricity forever.
Energy costs tend to head in one direction: UP!
- The price of gas went up $0.30 from 2017 to 2018.
- Heating costs are projected to increase.
- Electricity costs are also projected to increase for the next two years.
When you power and/or heat your home with solar, you take back control – and avoid rising costs.
There are so many ways to travel with solar as your fuel. These days we’ve got electric cars, bikes, scooters, skateboards, and even motorcycles. Lots of options for folks living in big cities or small communities. At SunCommon, we believe in a clean energy future for everyone — and when it comes to e-transport, that future is arriving quickly.
E-technology from Luxembourg to Las Vegas
A folding e-scooter out of Luxembourg got some major buzz at this year’s International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The Ujet has a lightweight frame that folds up for portability and to save space. You can roll the battery right into your workplace or home and charge it in a standard outlet. While smart-phone integration makes this a pricey ride, it shows the degree of innovation that’s currently going into e-transport.
Closer to home: e-scooters and e-bikes in Vermont’s capital city
Montpelier, Vermont may be a small capital city, but it’s currently a hub for e-transport. Through mid-December, 100 Bird e-scooters are available downtown for public use through a pilot program to promote affordable, environmentally-sustainable transportation. Residents can use the Bird Rides smartphone app to locate, unlock, and pay for the scooters.
E-scooters are great for the flatter sections of town, but when it comes to big hills (which many of us have on our commutes), e-bikes can really go the distance. Montpelier does not yet have an e-bike ride share program, but they are available at a few local shops.
Onion River Outdoors, a popular bike retailer in Montpelier, sells and rents e-bikes. Owners (and SunCommon customers) Kip and Jen Roberts say that people are coming in looking for a comfortable, urban e-bike with a rack for panniers. A popular goal for their e-bike purchasers is to be able to load up on groceries at the co-op and make it up the hill to their house!
Zoombikes, in East Montpelier, is Vermont’s oldest supplier of electric bikes. Their mission to raise awareness on alternative forms of transportation aligns well with SunCommon’s mission to promote affordable clean energy. So we’ve created a partnership to help save money and the planet — SunCommon customers get a 10 percent discount on the purchase of an Evelo bike through Zoombikes. Evelo offers commuter bikes, mountain bikes, street cruisers, folding bikes, and trikes. Ask us about the discount if you’re interested.
Google Maps makes electric vehicle charging stations easy to find
At SunCommon, a lot of us commute to work in electric-powered vehicles (or EVs)s—we’ve got a big fleet for our staff. Plus we’ve got our own solar-powered fast chargers at work. But outside of work, we’ve got the same challenge as all other EV drivers: where do we charge while on the road?
Google Maps is helping with that challenge. They recently added a search function to their app to help locate charging stations. Simply search for “EV charging stations,” and the locations populate your map.
The Future of Transportation.
E-transportation is exciting, and new options are available all the time; there’s too much to cover right here, so we’ll update you on e-skateboards and motorcycles in a future post. Electric technology is improving quickly, offering more convenience and faster-charging batteries with each new model that comes out. Together, we can ensure a clean and quiet clean energy future with batteries powered by solar!
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.
Pairing Solar with Battery Storage Means Energy Security.
At SunCommon, we believe that everyone has the right to a healthy environment and a brighter future – and renewable energy is where it starts. Energy from the sun can power every aspect of our lives – and now we can even store that power as a back-up, and take even more control of where our energy comes from.
When we combine solar power and energy storage, we can power with sunshine during the day and through the night – building a more reliable, resilient energy system for our state. Homes with solar and storage enjoy the reliability of backup power and support a more reliable and efficient grid for their community. When storms hit and the power goes out, your solar and battery work together to keep the essentials of your home running. No more filling the bathtub (and every pot and pan) with water. No more worrying about your pipes freezing – or needing to get to a hotel as the temperatures drop. No more cleaning out a fridge-ful of spoiled food.
Find home storage events near you
Want to learn more about home energy storage?
Click here to read more about how home energy storage works and how to can help you be prepared. It’s good to know that you have energy security when you need it.Homes with solar and storage enjoy the reliability of backup power and support a more reliable and efficient grid for their community.
Why SunCommon Chose to Support the Vermont Foodbank This Season.
This holiday season SunCommon has partnered with the Vermont Foodbank in an effort to progress our own mission – to use our business as a force for good – while supporting that of another organization.
We’ve found kindred spirits at the Vermont Food Bank, another organization focused on addressing global issues while working at a local scale. SunCommon addresses climate change by helping Vermonters make the switch to renewable energy, thereby reducing our impact on our environment. The Foodbank is addressing the vast problem of food insecurity by providing our neighbors around the state struggling with hunger with as much local, healthy food as they can.
1 in 4 Vermonters are facing hunger right now. We hope to use our business to put food on the table for our neighbors this holiday season.
So, How does the Holiday Giving program work?
For every household that checks out solar this holiday season by scheduling a free home assessment, SunCommon is donating $30 – the equivalent of 50 meals – to support families facing food insecurity.
We’ve coordinated with food coops and retail shops around the state to give our community organizers a platform, to talk face-to-face with folks in our communities about the impacts of climate change and food insecurity. And every week, dozens of Vermont families are raising their hands to do their part for the planet and for their neighbors facing hunger.
As a community of more than 5,000 families powered by SunCommon solar systems, our customers are also pledging to support this effort by sharing the news of our efforts with their friends, families, and neighbors, or simply by making a direct donation to the Foodbank.
Thanks to some of our partners in this work:
Want to Check Out Solar and Help Fight Hunger?
We believe that everyone has the right to a healthy environment and brighter future. At SunCommon, we strive to address the challenge of climate change. The Vermont Foodbank tackles the challenge of food insecurity. Two great organizations doing our bit.
SunCommon and the Pointe of Praise church are growing solar in the Hudson Valley.
The Community Solar Array at the Pointe of Praise Church in Kingston has helped over 100 local homes go solar. If Central Hudson is your utility company and you want to go solar but not at your home, then Community Solar is the perfect solution for you.
This CSA is currently full. But, occasionally members move outside of the Central Hudson service territory and a space will open up. Add your name to the waitlist and we’ll reach out when we have a spot available!
A new solar option for New York
The Pointe of Praise church in Kingston strives to improve the lives of its community members, and that fits right in with our thinking at SunCommon.
Community Solar Arrays (CSAs) are your local solar farm co-op. When you buy into a CSA, you have all the benefits of owning a solar array for your home without installing anything on your roof.
“We at Pointe of Praise Family Life Center believe that God created this good earth that we dwell on, and He has commissioned man to be responsible and take care of it.
In fulfilling this obligation, we’ve asked SunCommon to build a Community Solar Array on our property in Kingston, NY.
This will provide citizens of all economic standings access to solar power without having to install it on their own properties.
NY State has set a goal to have 50% of our energy come from renewable sources by 2030. We are proud to be partners in making this happen.”
— Reverend James Childs
Pointe of Praise Family Life Center
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.
Is Community Solar The Right Option For Me?
- Out of sight, out of mind: Going green is now as simple as seeing solar credits on your utility bill!
- Plan on moving soon? Community Solar is a flexible option
- Community Solar is sited for maximum sun hours, so there’s no need to worry about shade from surrounding trees
- Easily cover 100% of your home’s electric usage without worrying about space constraints
In this CSA, you own your panels.
- Own your solar panels
- Maximum savings
- Receive the tax credits available
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.
Giving the Gift of BCorp.
As the Holiday season draws closer, many of us will be on the hunt for the perfect gift for that special someone. At the same time, it’s likely we are all going to be bombarded with emails about flash sales and last-minute deals. As good as it might feel to find a gift at an amazing discount, take it from us: it feels even better to find a gift from a company with amazing values.
There are lots of choices out there for great gifts. At SunCommon, we wanted to highlight some gifts from companies that hold values similar to our own. So, we turned to our staff and community to create a list of their favorite gifts from years past, and how those gifts meant even more because they came from a values-led business or a company that’s looking out for people and planet—not just profit.
B Corps have found a way to profit by having a purpose. The below gifts are all from companies that care about transparency, the environment, and increasing their social impact.
“As a baking hobbyist, I go through a lot of flour around the holidays. I always buy King Arthur brand if I can, because I know the results will be good. I recently started using their white whole wheat flour, which is perfect for a lot of everyday baking, like pancakes, bread, or muffins. They also make *the best* boxed brownie mix! And, if you need a gift for a baker or a baked-good enthusiast in your life, you can find all kinds of baking gear and speciality ingredients on their website. Plus they offer classes for all skill levels at their Norwich, Vermont headquarters. But I love King Arthur most of all because it’s a local Vermont company with values I love. Knowing it’s a B-Corp—and employee owned!—means I don’t have to worry about whether I’m making a good decision with my money.”
“I stumbled across Bombas Socks via social media. I love socks, good socks, so I clicked! I am almost alway first interested in the company itself–who are they? How did they get started? What’s makes them different? Better? With Bombas I was not disappointed in their story and reason for being; I was most pleased with their mantra of “Bee Better,” and that with every pair of socks purchased, they donate one pair to homeless shelters. To date 10 million+ socks have been donated! Wow! AND, their sock construction is unique, and when you put them on your feet, you can feel the difference. With their 100% happiness guarantee, there is nothing to lose. Oh, and they are also a certified B Corp, using their business as a force for good. All this combined, how could you not love Bombas Socks?”
“I can’t say enough good things about my Allbirds. Not only do they hold up through miles upon miles of city walking, but they wash nicely and are made of sustainable wool. It’s great knowing that a quality sneaker can be made responsibly!”
“You can’t go wrong with a brand like Patagonia! They’re one of my favorite BCorps in terms of their commitment to sustainability and using their business for good. In our Northeastern climate, the gift of staying warm never fails. It especially feels good sporting SunCommon gear that is made by a like minded business with values that I care about.”
Mack (SunCommon Dog)
“My coat is perfect for playing in the snow… My skin, however, isn’t quite as tough! During the cold winter season, SheaMoisture’s Coconut Oil keeps my paws from cracking and my skin from itching! BCorps sure do make my tail wag!“
Gardener’s Supply Company has long been a socially responsible business, which they express by supporting employee volunteerism, sourcing sustainable products and donating 8 percent of profits back to the community. Gardener’s Supply became 100 percent employee-owned in 2009.
Miir is a company committed to giving, with 3% of revenue going to partner organizations with an aim to provide people with access to a better future. MiiR partners with some of the most respected nonprofits in the world to create sustainable giving projects in the clean water, health and food sectors that address both domestic and international issues. To date, they have given over $600,000 and empowered the lives of 100,000+ people worldwide.
Badger is a small, family-owned, family-run, and family-friendly company. They only use ingredients that fit their rigorous natural standards for healthy agriculture, minimal processing, sustainable supply chain, and health giving properties. Badger works hard to maintain a healthy community-minded business with ethical and charitable social principles. Badger became a B Corporation in 2011.
So this year, be sure to give a gift that does more than make someone happy. Give a gift that makes the world a better place.
Is SunCommon a BCorp?
The short answer is absolutely! It’s something we are incredibly proud of. If you want to learn more about how we are using our business as a force for good, and what it means to be a BCorp, you can learn more on our How We Roll page or click on the link below.
Winter’s on its way, and we’ve got sustainable solutions to keep your home and body warm. Heating your home requires a lot of energy, and with rising costs for oil and propane, now’s a great time to make a sustainable choice by switching to renewable resources. Our individual actions add up, so we’ve got all sorts of ideas to help you warm up in a way that is good for your health, your environment, and your wallet, too.
1. Solar + heat pump
Get a heat pump, power it with solar, and you’ve got the perfect combo for clean, affordable fuel. Heat pumps are super efficient, using about as little energy as you would running a window fan. They operate with an inside unit attached high on a wall, and an outside unit on the ground or mounted low. No more hazardous oil and propane tanks sitting on your property. Solar-powered heat pumps allow you to produce and own your own power. That translates to a low, fixed monthly payment for solar. (And when it’s not home-heating season, you’ve still got a sustainable system since heat pumps also offer home cooling, dehumidification, and air filtration.)
2. Weatherizing your home
A home that keeps your heat inside is an energy efficient home. That’s why weatherizing is so important. Houses tend to have lots of places where air escapes. Weatherizing finds them and fixes them. This season, SunCommon is partnering with Heat Squad, Button Up Vermont, and Efficiency Vermont. Through workshops, programs, and home visits, you can get the help you need to be sure that your house is buttoned up this winter. Find a workshop near you here or reach out and we’ll help you get connected with the right program.
3. Smart thermostats
“Alexa, set the temperature to 60 degrees.” Controlling smart thermostats is easy and efficient thanks to technology. Smart thermostats connect to the internet, to smartphone apps, and to voice-activated assistants like Alexa and Google Home. You don’t have to be home to change the temperature. The energy savings comes from having your home cooler longer — mostly when you’re away, but also when you’re sleeping. You set a schedule and a temperature range, and the especially smart part is that your habits get studied and you receive suggestions for more energy efficiency. Home heating is a really big source of energy consumption. Switch to a smart thermostat and save (energy and money).
4. Solar-charged heated clothing
Just like solar can power a heat pump for your home, it can also power your heated clothing to keep your body warm and toasty during your winter adventures. Let’s use PolarSeal as an example. They make a bunch of heated garments like hoodies, active zip-tops, and parkas. They have pockets with a USB attachment. You charge a power bank in your solar-powered home and then connect it to the USB in your pocket. Sound too toasty? Don’t worry the power banks are low voltage. Only 5 V. You stay warm for several hours or most of the day, depending on the power bank you choose.
5. Sustainably-made blanket, throw, sweater
We know you can only be in heated clothing as long as your charge lasts. For the rest of the time, you can stay warm outside with sustainably-made sweaters, hats, mitten, and socks. Indoors, nothing beats a blanket that someone has knit for you with eco-friendly yarn. For your sustainable buying or wish list, look to companies like Patagonia, Turtle Fur and Smartwool. Be warm and take comfort knowing that what’s close to your skin is safe for you and the environment.
6. Own a warm pet you can snuggle with — dog, cat, bunny
At the end of the day, or any time of day, really, snuggling with our favorite pets is one of the best ways to warm up. (If you’re not a pet lover, that’s okay, you’ve got lots of options above.) At SunCommon, it’s no secret that we love dogs. They make our office feel especially warm and cozy in the winter. If you come in to see us this season, you may see one of these dogs. They’re friendly. Feel free to warm up your hands with a little patting.
Staying warm sustainably can be a simple lifestyle choice, and it can be fun. If heating your home doesn’t feel that way, contact us about solar and a heat pump. We’re here to help.
How Solar is Furthering the Foundation’s Mission?
For some folks, there may be reasons why they can’t go solar at their property. This could be because of their roof, shading, or other factors. The Citizens Foundation wanted to help more people go solar, especially those who wanted to use clean energy but couldn’t install solar at their house. They’re hosting SunCommon’s latest community solar array where people can buy panels in the communal array instead of installing them at home. The project will make solar energy available to much more of the community, which means more Orange County residents can buy in to a cleaner, cheaper source of energy.
Learn More. Do More. Live Better.
For almost 50 years, the Orange County Citizens Foundation has been improving the quality of life for local residents and the surrounding community. The Foundation advocates for its citizens by powering vital organizations, preserving the county’s treasured open spaces, and creating public spaces that promote health, happiness, and an overall sense of well-being.
“Well, we were looking for some way to incorporate solar, and this works. Our house could not have solar panels on it and it’s just a good opportunity for us. As soon as we heard about the Citizens Foundation project, we got in contact and now we’re members. Now we can do our part, as small as it is!”
-Chuck & Viviana, The first Citizens Foundation CSA Members
Want to learn more about Community Solar or become a member?
For information about this project you can visit our Orange County Citizens Foundation CSA 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.