MONTPELIER, Vt. (WFFF) — Despite Vermont being a northeastern state, with a colder climate and shorter days in the winter, the solar industry in the Green Mountain State is flourishing.
“People are kind of baffled when I talk to people in other states when I say we have a booming solar industry they’re like ‘what, how? You’re not Florida,’” said Jane Stromberg from Green Mountain Solar. “But we have something called net metering and battery backup that are really helpful when you don’t have a lot of sun in certain parts of the year or certain parts of the day.”
Stromberg explains that Vermonters can still power their homes more efficiently with solar, no matter the season. In addition to getting direct energy from panels, solar also allows you to store extra energy on a battery for a later day. “For whatever reason, during a power outage you can tap into that energy and be able to run your essentials, your phone charger your refrigerator, things you really need in those moments,” she said.
Stromberg adds that while this benefits the environment, it can also significantly reduce, if not offset, energy costs. Vermonters import 100% of the oil and gas they consume, so experts say the switch also provides economic value.
“There’s a tremendous economic opportunity in reducing our reliance on those imported fossil fuels, keeping more dollar in Vermont, more money in Vermonters’ pockets,” said Johanna Miller, director of the Vermont Natural Resources Council.
Gov. Phil Scott’s 2022 budget, which passed last week, includes $250 million over the next three years to help Vermonters do their part on climate. Miller sees this as a good starting point, but says there must be equity in clean energy, too.
“What’s really critical is to avail themselves of those opportunities,” Miller said. “Really focus on helping those who can’t afford necessarily on their own to make those investments.”