The latest word from Norwich Solar Technologies (NST) is about the Small Business Community Solar Alliance (SBCSA). The SBCSA membership is being offered to small businesses in areas of Vermont supplied with electricity by Green Mountain Power, as a way to reduce costs of electricity in a way that is about as easy as we might imagine possible. One point NST makes is that the SBCSA was designed specifically for small businesses, and it was designed by people who know what that means, because they are a small business.
There are other reasons besides expenses to join the SBCSA, and these are important, so we might best review them right at the start. One, which just about any reader of Green Energy Times already knows, is that we really need to address climate change. Because this has been put off far too long, it has become very important that we do it we a careful view to sustainability. We need to stop burning fossil fuels, but we also need to include a plan for resilience in our thinking.
Also, businesses in Vermont need to address the question of not only how our electricity is generated, but where it is generated. Every year, we export many hundreds of millions of dollars to buy energy that is imported. Some of this is electricity, but most of it is in various types of fuel, gasoline, diesel oil, propane, and natural gas. We need not only to switch to electricity, we need to develop local resources to avoid continuing the ongoing drain of money our economy has been experiencing for many years.
NST is building solar arrays in Vermont, and businesses can sign up through the SBCSA to get their electricity from those arrays. Creating more renewable energy in our state makes Vermont stronger and more resilient, and means less of our dollars are exported out of the local economy. There are a whole host of local suppliers and contractors that are employed in the construction of each solar project, which also results in a stronger local economy. The SBCSA program helps address both the climate issue and the local economic issue. It keeps money in the state, and it employs local workers.
A business can join the SBCSA without cost and without being encumbered by an annual contract. There is no need to be overly concerned about the installation of solar panels or where they will go. NST handles the necessary paperwork and keeps track of solar credits in a way that is transparent and predictable. The small business will still pay a bill from GMP, along with a bill from NST, but the two together will cost about 8% less than the old GMP bill did. So, for the inconvenience of paying one more bill, you get 8% off the total payment. Also, calculations of the cost for solar credits, which are paid to NST, are based on annualized data, so that part of your bill is absolutely predictable.
Apart from saving the planet and fostering the economy and people of Vermont, any business that is a member of the SBCSA has other benefits. One of these is digital access to projects to be able to track how they are doing. Another is marketing benefits. Member businesses can post supplied signs and take advantage of press releases identifying them as among those working to save the planet and promote the local economy.
In its documentation, NST said, “Undertaking serious sustainability initiatives is imperative for concerned business owners seeking to reverse the trend of our rapidly warming climate. By joining the Small Business Community Solar Alliance, your organization is making a highly visible demonstration of its commitment to the fight against global climate change and supporting the local economy.”
Norwich Solar Technologies was founded in 2011. It has offices in White River Junction and Windsor, Vermont, and in Brunswick, Maine. Its projects have come to over 30 megawatts, saving customers over $20 million, and saving the planet from the effects of a million tons of carbon dioxide. Their website is norwichsolar.com.