On November 6, the town’s Energy Committee and the Cavendish Community and Conservation Association (CCCA) hosted a program on weatherization and solar for home use. From the turn out and questions asked, the audience’s primary interest was in solar and cold climate heat pumps.

The latter is a very efficient way to heat your home at one-half to one-third the cost of heating systems that use propane or heating oil, while also providing a significant greenhouse gas benefits. Learn more about this system, and whether it would be a good fit for you home by going to Efficiency Vermont’s Cold-Climate Heat Pumps.

It doesn’t matter whether you are a Ludlow Electric or Green Mountain Power (GMP) subscriber for a cold climate heat pump, however, solar is a different matter. Because these are net metered systems-the amount of energy produced by your solar panels is deducted from your energy bill as your system is tied into the grid-this is only available to GMP subscribers.

The representative from SunCommon  explained that their company provides an opportunity to install a new solar system at your home with no upfront costs. In fact, their goal is to develop a system that will offset your utility bill. With a fixed rate for a bank loan, this will save you money over the 20 year loan period. As the price of monthly bills rise, this “monthly” does not, thereby saving you money even before you’ve paid off the loan.

SunCommon will assess for free whether your home is suitable for solar. If it is, they will determine the number of panels needed to meet the anticipated energy use at your home. SunCommon will process all the paperwork, incentives, permitting etc. along with installing your solar system. To arrange for a free assessment, call 802-8828181 or visit their website.

For a variety of reasons, some people were more interested in a community solar farm, whereby individuals can buy into a solar project-no solar panels at their home- that provides energy credits with GMP as well as tax benefits. There are a growing number of community solar projects in the area and at least one community member expressed interest in having their property evaluated for such a purpose. Stay tuned for more information from the Energy Committee.