In Vermont, A Forward-Thinking Utility Is Helping Customers Share Solar Power

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Can’t have your own solar panel? Now, utility companies and startup Yeloha are making it easy to use the electricity from someone else’s—which could change everything about the grid.

Even they’d like to go solar, they can’t because they’re renters or their roof isn’t suitable for solar equipment, either because of its design or the direction it’s facing. Out of 117 million households in the U.S., only 16 million have solar-friendly roofs, GTM Research says. And that’s before we consider all the people who don’t have a high enough credit score to lease or loan solar, and those who are put off, or bamboozled, by the financial commitment involved.

What’s exciting, however, is that there’s now a growing range of alternatives to having your own solar situation. One, you can take part in a wide range of community solar projects, where developers put up arrays that local people can participate in. Even more interesting, there are now options to share in someone else’s home solar panel, even if that person is a long way away. Solar electrons, in other words, are being decoupled from their physical source, opening up all sorts of possible marketplace opportunities.

Yeloha, which we covered previously, is one of the first companies to make power sharing a reality. Like an Airbnb or Match.com for energy, it links up people with more capacity on their roofs than they need with people who want to get solar, but either can’t or don’t want the responsibility. Based in Boston, Yeloha is in the process of installing solar on 100 homes in Massachusetts that will act as hosts in the network.

See the Wall Street Journal’s article: “Peer-to-Peer Solar Network Yeloha Gets $3.5 Million to Launch in the U.S.” to learn more about Yeloha

Yeloha also plans to gather in hosts with existing equipment as well. Today it launches in Vermont under a partnership with Green Mountain Power (GMP), a utility that covers about 75% of the state’s electricity needs. Green Mountain Power solar customers will be able to sign up for Yeloha, subscribing in increments of one or more panels, and contracts lasting between one year and five years.

Read the rest of the story at Fast Company’s Fast Exist blog.

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