Net Metering: What’s It All About?

solar net metering page hero image zero net energy home

Net Metering: What’s It All About?

Have you ever heard someone say that it’s no use going solar up North because there’s not enough sunlight? It’s true that in the higher latitudes of the United States, the days are pretty short for half the year, which in turn means not much solar production. 

But the flipside is that as short as those fall and winter days are, they’re that much longer in the spring and summer. In fact, for many days of the year, we receive far more sunlight than the average home needs to run on solar power.

Now, if only there was a way to capture that extra sunlight to use during the darker months… Turns out there is! Utility companies in New York and Vermont are required to compensate you for solar energy you produce. This system is called Net Metering, and it’s what helps make solar financially accessible for a lot of homeowners.

Net Metering helps you become your own power plant

Let’s say on a particularly sunny spring day, your solar panels produce more energy than your household uses. All that extra electricity doesn’t go to waste — it actually gets fed back into the electric grid. Your utility company keeps track of any extra energy your panels produce and credits it to your account.

At the end of a billing cycle in which you generated more power than you used, your utility will send you a statement showing your balance of banked solar credits, and your bill will effectively be zero. At the end of the summer, you’ll have tons of solar credits on your account because of all those long sunny days where your panels made more energy than you used. 

Later in the year when the days get short again, your solar home will use more power than it generates. This is when your banked credits become useful. At the end of your billing cycle, instead of charging you for energy you used from the grid, your utility will just subtract from your banked credits, and, once again, your bill is effectively zero.

Another way to think of it? You’re basically your own mini power plant, selling solar energy to your utility in the summer to pay for your power needs during the winter.

We crunch the numbers for you

Our job as your solar provider is to do all the complicated math — taking into account the angle of sun onto your roof, the amount of energy you’ll likely use in a year, etc. — and build you a custom solar system that will produce just enough excess energy during the summer to pay for your energy needs during the winter. Ideally you’ll run out of banked credits in the spring just as the days start getting longer again.

Heads up Vermont: net metering is changing soon!

You may have heard that the state Net Metering incentive (sometimes called the “solar adder”) is decreasing on September 1, 2022. This means that new solar customers in Vermont will be compensated less by their utilities for the solar energy they generate.

Going solar will still be a cost-saving energy solution thanks to net metering, but if you want to get the most savings out of solar, we recommend you check it out now before this change takes effect. It’s not too late to lock in today’s incentive rate.

Want to get the most savings out of solar?

There’s still time to sign up before this change takes place. Get in touch to see how SunCommon can help you lock in today’s incentive rate!

Electricity Rates: Why They Keep Rising and How to Break Free with Solar

Solar homeowners in front of their house in Danville

The Truth About Rising Electricity Rates and How to Break Free by Going Solar

As of January 2023, New York (#8) and Vermont (#10) ranked amongst the states with the highest residential electricity rates in the U.S. Thankfully, many of these states, as well as the federal government, have ambitious goals to decrease our overall reliance on fossil fuels. These initiatives are inspiring (and incentivizing!) people to move to cleaner, greener energy sources. And, as utility companies continue raising their rates, more and more homeowners are turning to solar power as a way to save money on their electric bills.

Where do rising rates come from?

It’s important to understand who sets utility rates and how these ever-increasing rates are determined. In New York State, rates are determined by the Public Service Commission (PSC), an independent state agency responsible for regulating the rates for electric, natural gas, water, and telecommunications services. In Vermont, the Public Service Board (PSB) monitors and adjusts rates based on a variety of factors, including the cost of providing service, the cost of fuel and other inputs, the impact of rates on consumers, and the need for utility companies to earn a reasonable return on investment.

For any proposed rate changes by a utility company, these state agencies conduct a thorough review, including public hearings and an analysis of the utility company’s finances. This ensures rates are reasonable for both the utility company and its customers. Recently, however, we’ve seen both New York and Vermont electricity rates begin to skyrocket…

Electricity rates go in one direction: Up!

Despite consumers’ hopes for lower utility bills, the reality is that rising fuel costs, infrastructure upgrades, geopolitical conditions, and government regulations all have a major impact on the price we pay for electricity. Prices will always fluctuate somewhat, but it seems that a long-term upward trend is here to stay.

US monthly electricity rates graph

Gain Energy Independence

In response to rising electricity rates, homeowners who go solar can actually lock in their energy costs, gain energy independence, and save thousands of dollars compared to what they would have paid the utility company without going solar.

solar payment vs electric bill

You’ll always need energy for your home, but always buying power from your utility company is like paying rent instead of owning your home – you pay every month without building any equity or lasting value, and the rates will always go up over time.

When you go solar, you break the cycle of paying for electricity forever.

Don’t wait for electric prices to soar even higher.

Get in touch with our friendly Solar Advisor team today to start your solar journey.

Federal ITC: The Latest Updates for Homeowners Looking to Go Solar

home and business owners go solar with help of federal itc

The Federal ITC:
Updates for Homeowners Looking to Go Solar

Going solar has become a popular way for homeowners and businesses to reduce their energy costs and decrease their carbon footprint. The federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is a key incentive that makes going solar more financially viable for many people.

The federal ITC was in the process of phasing down from 30% to 10% over 4 years, but once the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) bill was passed, $369 billion in federal incentives have since been allocated to our national energy security and climate change programs – the largest climate investment ever by the US government. The IRA not only extends the ITC at 30%, but goes well beyond any past legislation in its support of the clean energy industry by expanding the tax credits to apply to additional technologies, like energy storage. This ITC increase applies to both business and residential projects, including those installed in 2022, and will last through the end of 2032.

Monetary Benefits for Home and Business Owners

brewery goes solar with suncommon in vermont

The federal ITC is available to individuals and businesses that install solar energy systems on their property. The credit is equal to 30% of the cost of the solar energy system, including installation and equipment costs. This credit can be applied to your federal income taxes, effectively reducing the cost of going solar by a significant amount.

Although the cost of solar installations has been decreasing in recent years, it can still be a significant investment. The federal ITC helps offset some of these costs, making it a more viable investment.

Solar Industry Growth

Another benefit of the federal ITC is that it supports the growth of renewable energy. By making it more financially viable for individuals and businesses to invest in solar energy, the federal ITC helps to promote the use of this clean energy source.

The federal ITC also helps to create jobs in the solar industry. As more people invest in solar energy systems and tell their friends and family about the benefits, the demand for solar increases, which in turn supports local economies. (Looking for local solar done right? We’ve got you covered!)

suncommon solar installation team at a home in vermont

Encouraging Energy Independence

visualizing home energy storage with tesla powerwall and app

In addition to the financial benefits, the federal ITC increases overall energy independence. Solar energy systems allow individuals and businesses to generate their own electricity, reducing their dependence on traditional energy sources from the utility grid. This can be especially beneficial for homes and businesses during power outages when paired with energy storage.

Supporting a Brighter Future

Finally, the federal investment tax credit also helps protect the environment. Solar energy systems do not produce emissions or pollution, making them a clean energy source. By investing in solar energy, individuals and businesses can play a role in mitigating the effects of climate change.

SunCommoners working with VT Foodbank on a gleaning operation

The federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is an important incentive that makes going solar more financially viable for many people. The credit helps to offset the cost of solar installations, supports the growth of renewable energy, creates jobs, and increases energy independence while protecting the environment. If you are thinking about going solar, be sure to check with your accountant to be sure you can take advantage of the federal ITC. And when you’re ready to take the next step, get in touch with our friendly Solar Advisor team!

Want to Go Solar in New York?

SunCommon helps people who want to go solar in New York

Want to Go Solar in New York?

Make Hay (And Energy) While The Sun Shines!

Some things are just better in a particular season. Like wool socks. Fresh tomatoes. Pumpkin Spice everything. It’s true, too, if you want to go solar. While adding solar to your home or business is a smart and potentially cost saving decision at any time, spring is actually the IDEAL season to go solar and save money.

Hello, Sunshine!

Here’s a fun fact: on average, there’s 15-20% more sunshine in March than in February. Plus, the amount of daylight increases by two minutes each day. More sunshine plus more daylight means more energy fueling your solar array. And that’s not just for immediate use. In New York, your utility allows you to “bank” the unused energy you produce as credits toward your energy bill in the off-season. (It’s true, check it out.)

That means that solar’s goodness keeps on giving throughout the year (unlike a Pumpkin Spice latte that only lasts you a few minutes). Installing a solar system this spring will pay back dividends next winter and every winter after that.

The Warm Fuzzies

Thinking about solar, but wondering if it’s the right direction for you? Allow us to go a little deeper…

The advantages of green energy are many, not the least of which is making a break from fossil fuels and using the sun’s clean energy to power your life. And that’s huge for our communities and  for the world. 

But we get it. Sometimes, you need a little more “What’s in it for me?” than simply saving the world. To that we say, how about reducing your electricity bill, possibly by as much as 90%? Win-win, right?!

solar company helping people go solar

Not to mention, you can also get over 50% of the cost of your solar installation covered if you’re eligible for New York State and Federal incentives!

Or how about the fact that installing residential solar will actually raise the value of your home? Or that solar plus the addition of a Tesla Powerwall energy storage system will allow you to sail through power outages without the use of a generator? Finally, did you know that going solar with SunCommon means you’re getting a custom installation from one of only nine NYSERDA Quality Installers with Gold Status?

So. Much. Winning.

Spring Into Action

If you’re ready to go solar, don’t wait until Pumpkin Spice Season. Or even the amazing Farmer’s Market fresh tomato season. NOW is the time to maximize your investment, bank as many solar credits as you can, and cut your energy bill and carbon footprint to boot. Let’s talk!

Ready to speak with a Solar Expert?

Affordable Power to the People

affordable power with solar from suncommon

(Affordable) Power to the People

Every day at SunCommon, we look for new ways to advance our mission of tearing down barriers to clean energy and using our business as a force for good. One way we do that is by continually evaluating and implementing products and programs that make solar financially accessible to as many people as possible.

Cost is often a barrier for folks switching to renewable power, so we provide our customers with three different financing options. By keeping upfront costs, monthly payments, and interest rates as low as possible, we help our customers save thousands of dollars over the lifetime of their solar installation compared to what they would have paid their utility for electricity.

1. Pay in full upfront

For those that can afford it, paying for solar panels outright without financing does offer the best bang for your buck. Apart from your utility’s grid service fees (typically $15-30 per billing cycle), you will pay nothing, or nearly so, for your electricity every month, and you will have made an interest-free, debt-free investment in your energy-independent future. Because systems generally last more than 30 years, customers can expect to recoup the initial cost in 12-18 years. That’s essentially free energy for half of the life of your solar system.

2. Short-term loans that meet (or beat) your utility bill

SunCommon has partnered with VSECU, a Vermont-based credit union, to offer financing plans with zero down-payment and interest rates low enough to match or beat what you currently pay your utility each month. Switching to a fixed solar loan payment like this can also protect you from utility rate increases down the road. And once your loan term is up, your energy is essentially free for the remaining life of your solar system. (Talk about affordable power!)

3. Even lower monthly payments

Our newest financing option through Sunlight Financial, a national energy lender, offers some of the lowest monthly payments we’ve ever been able to offer. What’s more, Sunlight has lowered the minimum credit score requirement to 600, which opens up financing to even more potential customers. And Sunlight can finance projects up to $150,000 (versus the more standard $60,000) — this means that for solar installations requiring a new roof, you can bundle both projects into a single loan at an interest rate likely lower than a home equity loan or line of credit. And of course, once that loan is paid off, your energy is free for the remaining life of the panels.

Don’t forget there are also federal tax credits and state incentives that can make your solar installation even more affordable. The state incentives are slightly different in New York versus Vermont, and all incentives and tax credits do change with time, so we suggest talking to a clean energy expert (like us!) to get the most up-to-date information.

If you’re reading this, you might already be sold on many of the benefits of going solar, such as doing a good thing for the planet, or becoming more energy independent. Our aim is to make sure that going solar also has financial benefits for as many people as possible, so that we can all play a part in building a brighter clean energy future.

Ready to dig into the numbers and make affordable power a reality?

Home Energy Storage with GMP and the Tesla Powerwall

2 Home Energy Storage Programs for Green Mountain Power Customers

Home energy storage systems, like Tesla Powerwall, can keep your lights on during electrical outages, and Green Mountain Power has two different programs to help you take advantage of this powerful technology: one where you own your batteries, and one where you lease them. The ownership program is currently enrolling new members, and we can get you on the waitlist for the lease program!

A network of batteries throughout our communities can help ease periods of high energy demand, and, when paired with solar, can replace dirty, expensive energy with clean energy from the sun. With these two innovative programs, GMP will crowd-source power from home batteries when demand is high, helping to bring down costs for all their customers by reducing transmission and capacity expenses. In return, homeowners participating in these programs will get the peace of mind and comfort of automatic, silent back-up power.

SunCommon is Vermont’s most experienced installer of home battery systems, and we’re ready to help you see which Powerwall program is right for you!

Option 1: Lease Program

Leasing batteries from GMP gives you the benefits of backup power during an outage, while also sharing stored power with the grid during peak demand events.


  • Leasing batteries is easy and hassle free. GMP will own the double-Powerwall system and take care of all maintenance as well as pay for the removal and recycling of the batteries at the end of their useful life. GMP will also be responsible for charging your battery from the grid, ensuring you’ll have enough stored power in the event of an outage. While pairing batteries with a home solar system has its definite advantages, solar is not required — any GMP customer can sign up for this lease program.


  • You can lease a double-Powerwall system from GMP for $55 per month for ten years, or you can choose to pay $5,500 upfront. There is an option to keep the batteries for up to 15 years at additional cost. Unlike the ownership model, leased battery systems are not eligible for the federal tax credit.

Program Status: 

  • This program is open to all qualifying GMP customers.
  • Complete the form below to get started!
Solar powered home maintains some electricity during an outage with a solar battery home energy storage solution

Option 2: Ownership, or Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), Program

With the BYOD program, customers own their batteries and get to choose how much stored energy to share with GMP during the “draw periods.” 


  • Because you’ll own your batteries, you’ll be eligible for a federal tax credit worth 30% of the cost (and if you pair your batteries with solar, that 30% applies to the cost of your solar system, too!). For enrolling in the program, you’ll receive an upfront payment of up to $10,500 (depending on how many batteries you enroll and how much power you choose to share) in exchange for GMP accessing your stored power. The tax credit combined with the one-time GMP payment results in the larger financial benefit for most customers, between the two programs.


  • When you sign up for the BYOD program, you are committing to grant GMP access to your stored power for 10 years. Since you own the batteries, you will be responsible for maintaining an internet connection and ensuring they are fully charged during periods of peak demand. There is also a monthly communication fee of $3.97 for participation in the program.

Program Status:

  • Open now to new member enrollment.

Already have battery storage, or want to install a new battery system?

Connect with us at 802-882-8170 or, or click the button below!

Green Mountain Power Logo

For all the details and fine print…

…visit GMP’s website:

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 enjoy the benefits of on-demand power and zero out your energy costs by swapping your utility bill for a solar payment. Find out more about how solar works by clicking below.

Customer Experience Q&A

Q&A with Customer Experience Manager,
Marlaina Hunter

With nearly 10,000 residential solar system installations under our belt, it’s fair to say SunCommon has a lot of experience and expertise! Over the years, we’ve dialed in our approach to transform a complicated process into a seamless experience for our customers. 

We sat down with Customer Experience Manager Marlaina Hunter to learn some of the most important things a homeowner should know as they begin their solar project.

So whats the first step in going solar?

To begin, you’ll have a virtual meeting with one of our knowledgeable Solar Home Advisors. The first thing they’ll want to know is how much electricity you are currently using—this is used to size your system properly and estimate the number of panels you’ll need. (If you have plans to purchase an EV in the near future, they’ll want to know about that too, since that will increase your electricity usage.) Your Solar Home Advisor will use a combination of satellite images and an industry-leading technology called Aurora to create a 3D visual of what your home will look like with solar. From there you’ll have a preliminary system design and price quote.

3D visual of home with solar

If all systems are go, then what happens?

Once you do decide to go solar with us, we’ll send an evaluator to your house. During their visit, your evaluator will map the path of the sun and take note of any trees or structures that may shade your solar system. If you’re going with a roof-mounted solar system, they’ll venture into your attic to make sure your roof is structurally up to the task of holding panels. They may even fly a drone over your house to get measurements, which is really neat. The most important thing, but probably the least exciting, is inspecting your electrical panel. 

inspecting electrical panel for solar installation

From there, all the measurements and electrical info go to our solar engineers. Every system we design and build is custom to your home and energy usage — no two solar systems are the same. There are a lot of electrical and mathematical calculations that our engineers need to work through, not to mention utility requirements and property setbacks. I think once an evaluator has been to your house, customers are eager to get up and running. But our team of engineers has to analyze every. single. detail. before they can actually design your system. It’s a long but critical part of the process, sometimes taking 6 weeks.

Beyond the panels, what other equipment should customers be prepared to have installed on their home?

The inverter or combiner box, which is arguably the most important part of your solar system! Sometimes called the “brain” of the system, it converts DC energy from your panels into AC energy so it’s usable in your home. It’s also connected to your home’s Wi-Fi so you can easily monitor your solar energy production. The inverter might be located outside, either on a pedastel or directly on your house, or it might be inside your home near your electrical panel. Most utilities in Vermont will also install another meter, for net metering purposes. In New York, utilities typically just switch out your existing meter with a net meter.

So how long, on average, does the whole process take?

The short answer is: it depends. For most roof-mounted systems in Vermont, it’s a pretty seamless process (as long as you don’t need any electrical upgrades). So, from the time your evaluation is complete to the time you’re powered up, it’s about two months, on average. For ground-mounted systems though, we need to consider the time of year: when the ground freezes in winter, we’re not able to install the ground screws used to anchor the array. So if you decide to go solar in the late fall, you may not be installed until the following spring. 

In New York, every municipality has different regulations for installing solar, so timing is tricky to predict and mainly depends on how quickly your municipality can process your application. It could be two months, or it could be six months. The good news for our New York customers is they don’t have to go to planning board meetings or talk to the municipality — SunCommon takes care of that for all of our customers. (In fact, when customers are involved in that phase, they typically end up slowing things down!) 

solar monitoring example with solaredge

Let’s shift to after the system is installed. What maintenance is required?

The most important thing is monitoring your system at least once a week. Monitoring in this case simply means checking in on your solar production to make sure everything is working as it should. The easiest way to do this is by checking your solar production app on your phone. Most of the time everything will go like clockwork, but it’s a good idea to keep an eye on it. If there is a glitch with your system, you’ll want to catch it quickly so you don’t miss out on production!

What should folks do if things aren’t working correctly?

If it’s a sunny day, and your monitoring app shows that your system isn’t producing electricity, you should go out to your inverter and take a look. Some inverters will display error codes which can diagnose the problem. If you see an error code, take a photo of it or write it down. Then head to our Customer Support page and check out the instructions for power-cycling your inverter. If your system isn’t working, one of the best things to do first is power-cycle your system, which is just a fancy way of saying restart or reboot.

What happens if the power goes out?

If the power is out, and you don’t have backup power at your home, your solar system will turn off and stop producing electricity because it is tied to the grid.

energy independence during a power outage with tesla powerwall home energy storage app

Can you tell us more about backup power options?

Yes, we install the Tesla Powerwall. Like a generator, this giant battery provides backup power in the event of an outage — but unlike a generator, it’s silent and doesn’t run on fossil fuels! When the power goes out, Powerwall automatically kicks into gear, and most people don’t even notice when their home starts running on Powerwall instead of drawing from the grid.  If you’re considering adding battery backup to your home, it’s important to know that it’s meant mainly for running just the basics: think refrigerator, freezer, internet, and a well pump. You wouldn’t want to run energy-intensive appliances like air conditioners off your Powerwall because they’ll run the battery down much quicker.

Anything else that’s helpful to share?

I like to remind our SunCommon customers that if they feel passionate about reducing the effects of climate change and enjoyed working with SunCommon, they should talk to their neighbors, family, and friends about the benefits of going solar. Every solar-powered home makes a difference, and inspiring your friends to go solar is a powerful climate action. Plus, if you refer them and they go solar with us, we’ll send you $500. There’s no limit to the number of people you can refer, so the more the merrier!

Customer Experience Matters

suncommon solar home advisor with customer experience

When it comes to going solar, customer experience matters.

customer experience manager marlaina pointing at suncommon solar installation on roof

There are a lot of factors to weigh when deciding to go solar. From whether your property has a good solar profile, to the monthly cost, to your return on investment, it’s a decision that requires a thoughtful process. 

But once you decide to go for it, there’s one more essential step: choosing the best solar company to handle the job. That means getting to know your potential solar providers before you sign the contract so you can be sure they’ll be a good partner from day 1 and for years to come.

Here’s where SunCommon shines like a bright and cloudless sunny day: as a locally owned and operated company, we’ve built our business model on being not just a great installer of solar, but also a good neighbor, dedicated to the satisfaction of our clients.

So what does it take to give our customers an amazing solar experience?

Good communication is our first priority

At SunCommon, we never underestimate the critical role that good communication plays in ensuring that your project goes smoothly — and also in making it an exciting (and dare we say fun?) customer experience!

We set expectations upfront so that the sometimes-complex process of going solar is as clear as possible. At every stage of the project, we want our customers to know what has been completed and what’s coming next. (In fact, we hire our staff not just for their techie know-how, but also for their people skills!)

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

“From beginning to end, nothing but great service, professionalism and friendliness. Constant contact with what is happening — I was never in the dark.”

SunCommon Customer | Rhinebeck

Problem solving for the best answer

When you’re as passionate about your company’s mission as we are, everyone in the organization is committed to rolling up their sleeves to work for their customers. And it’s not always a cut-and-dry solution. Sometimes our technical knowledge and experience with financial incentives will do the trick, and other times we tap our ingenuity and perseverance to come up with the best solution.


“SunCommon worked through some difficult situations with me and, in the meantime, were fighting to get an affordable loan.”

April D. | Burlington

suncommon solar installers

Integrity matters. Big time.

At SunCommon, we know our clients make decisions based on our expertise and the quality of the information we provide. That’s why we take our estimates very seriously and build our pricing models based only on historically relevant and geographically specific data. Some national companies use national data—but are utility rates in Texas relevant in New York or Vermont? Not likely!

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

“I have been with this company for three years. I just reviewed the original estimates they gave me with my three years of bills. The estimates were right on target.”

SunCommon Customer | Delmar

solar homeowner

Commitment that doesn’t quit

Lastly, you want to work with a solar company that will help you out beyond “flipping the switch.” If a problem arises after your solar is up and running, SunCommon will be there for you. And whenever you want to expand your solar capacity or add battery backup, you’ll already have a great relationship with a responsive, helpful, friendly local business you trust.

When you’re a company that prioritizes the customer experience, it shows… especially on review sites like SolarReviews. And, modesty aside, we’ve shared a few testimonials (over 100 and counting) on our website.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

“We started with an 8kWh system in 2012 that took about 4 weeks and expanded it with a 5kWh system just finished in early 2014. The expansion took only 2 weeks because all of the wiring was already there, and the newer system was joined to the old system.”

Karen F. | Hudson

Here’s another great way to get a feel for who we are:

Talk to one of our expert Solar Advisors! We’re always happy to answer your toughest questions and work hard to achieve your solar aspirations. Ready, set, go solar!

Solar for Farms is a Cash Crop

Lowland Farm Solar Customer - solar for farms

Solar for Farms is a Cash Crop

Between state and federal incentives, and the ability to offset rising utility costs, there are many outstanding financial reasons for installing solar at your commercial farm. Not to mention: climate change and its effect on weather are heavily impacting farms, so taking steps to reduce our carbon impact (like going solar) is critical for all of us depending on healthy farms and a healthy planet.

Starting with the financials

A typical for-profit farm is eligible for a 30% federal solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) plus depreciation. That depreciation can be taken over time or all in one year, which gives farms with solar some good financial flexibility.

What does that mean in terms of dollars and cents? Almost half of the cost of installing a commercial solar system is covered by tax credits, incentives, and depreciation. In addition, through net metering, farms with solar can “bank” excess electricity produced by their solar panels as credits on their utility bill to use during times when the sun isn’t shining, or if there’s snow covering the panels. All in all, the payback timeline on a commercial solar system ranges from 5 to 10 years. After that, you’ve got free electricity for the life of the solar system.

Non-profit farms also have options for using solar power to lock in their current and future energy costs. With a special CPACE loan, farm owners can borrow off their property value, so there is no out-of-pocket expense to implement solar.

The power of community

The financial benefits of farms with solar don’t need to stop at the farm. “Remote crediting” is a relatively recent development whereby excess solar power that is not used by the farm can be assigned to other power consumers on the same utility, such as employees or neighbors.

“As dairy farmers, it’s very important for us to budget our expenses to remain a viable business. When the CSA program at SunCommon was created, we knew we had found a great fit. By hosting a CSA, we have secured predictable, constant electricity rates for our farm and also developed a new form of the working landscape.” 

— Mark Magnan, Magnan Brothers Dairy


Scaling up from there, farms with excess or unused property can host a community solar array (CSA), which is a big-return investment. Depending on the size of the array, community solar installations can generate power for the farm’s own use plus the use of up to 50 additional homes. That can provide a substantial and predictable stream of income for farm owners.

Truly Sustainable Agriculture

Going organic and implementing sustainable soil and water practices are important to many farms’ sustainability plans. But if you’re not factoring in energy use as a part of your overall environmental strategy, you’re missing a big piece of the puzzle. We’ve already talked about the financial side, so now let’s consider the less-quantifiable benefits of going solar.

These days, customers care about sustainability, and they’ll feel good supporting businesses that share their values. Having a publicly visible commitment to clean energy in the form of an onsite solar system isn’t just good for PR and social media, it can be a draw for visitors. Many of our solar customers report that the addition of shaded picnic areas beneath solar canopies, solar powered EV charging stations, and even just plain old panels on the roof have had positive impacts on farm visits and store sales.

Reap the Rewards of Commercial Solar

Many of our customers call the decision to install solar for farms a no-brainer — especially those partnering with Organic Valley. Organic Valley has offered their co-op member farmers the opportunity to solarize their barn roofs at no upfront cost and with zero debt, pus the benefit of savings on their electric bill. We’d call that a no-brainer, too!

organic valley co-op choiniere dairy farm in vermont

Have we planted a seed of interest?
Give a Solar Advisor a call today!

Lawson’s Finest Liquids in Waitsfield Goes Solar with SunCommon

Introducing the “Sunshine Canopy” at Lawson’s Finest Liquids in Waitsfield

We’re proud to help businesses find solar solutions that work for them.

The largest Solar Canopy in the state of Vermont is now complete at the company’s Brewery and Taproom in Waitsfield, Vermont.

“From the beginning we set out to be the finest, source the best ingredients, invest in state-of-the-art equipment, brew the best beer possible and cultivate healthy, vibrant communities. That’s why our efforts in sustainability and striving to offset our brewery’s utility bill through renewable energy are so important to us.”

Sean Lawson, CEO and Founding Brewer at Lawson’s Finest Liquids

The “Sunshine Canopy” produces enough energy to power 50% of Lawson’s Waitsfield operations — equal to the brewing and pouring of up to 2,834,590 beers a year, or 7,766 a DAY!

Check out the full story here.

Ready to go solar at your business?

495 panels

System Size

$44,500 per year

Annual Savings

240,000 kWh

Est. Annual Energy Production


Equivalent Number of Trees Planted Annually

suncommon employee in front of lawson's finest solar canopy

The program is currently accepting new Organic Valley farmers to join the clean energy revolution!

Not an Organic Valley Farmer? We help dozens of farms go solar every year, whether they are part of a bigger cooperative or not.

Get in touch to find out how solar can work for your business: