When people say Vermont’s “green,” they’re referring to more than just the mountains – the 14th state is also home to some of the most ambitious renewable energy goals in the country. Vermonters are increasingly turning to energy storage as a way to keep their homes running on clean, reliable power during power outages.
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What storage incentives are available in Vermont?
As of September 2020, Vermont does not have any statewide energy storage incentives. However, the state’s largest utility company, Green Mountain Power (GMP), offers two different programs to help promote battery adoption among their customers.
Green Mountain Power’s BYOD program
GMP’s BYOD program pays you an incentive for allowing GMP to access and use the electricity stored in your battery during times of peak demand. Importantly, you do not need a solar panel system to participate in this program: if you have a standalone storage device, GMP re-charges the battery after using the stored electricity. Your full incentive will depend on the size of your battery, the amount of power you allow GMP to draw from it, and whether you pair your storage system with solar:
Backup mode incentive: if you connect your battery to the grid and only use it for backup power (i.e. to power your home during grid outages), you can earn $850 per kW of power available for at least three hours at its full capacity rating. For a Tesla Powerwall 2, this means up to $3,825.
Self-comsumption mode incentive: if you pair your battery with a solar panel system and use it for self-consumption (i.e. charge your battery with solar power during the day, and run your home on stored solar power at night even when the grid is functional), you’re eligible for a fixed upfront payment of $850, or $9.65 monthly bill credit for 10 years. GMP would not be able to draw from your battery during peak events, but they still pay you an incentive for installing a solar-plus-storage system because it reduces the overall demand for electricity.
GMP’s Tesla Powerwall pilot program
In addition to the BYOD incentive described above, GMP has another demand response program available to customers in Vermont: the Tesla Powerwall pilot program. With this program, GMP allows you to lease two Tesla Powerwalls for your home, regardless of whether you have a solar panel system or not.
Similar to the BYOD program, GMP will draw electricity from the battery during peak events to help reduce stress on the electricity grid. But when the power goes out, you’ll have a source of backup energy. According to GMP’s website, the two Powerwalls will provide 16 to 24 hours worth of backup power for your whole home.
GMP offers two different leasing payment options: monthly payments of $55 for ten years, or an upfront payment of $5,500. Either way, because this is a lease, GMP owns and maintains the battery throughout the lease agreement.
Vermont tax benefits for energy storage
Fortunately, you don’t need to be a customer of any specific utility company to take advantage of the federal investment tax credit (ITC).
The federal investment tax credit (ITC)
Planning on pairing a battery with your home solar panel system? With the federal investment tax credit (ITC), you can claim up to 26 percent of the cost of your solar battery as a credit towards your federal taxes. For most homeowners, the ITC can help decrease the cost of a battery by an additional $3,000 to $4,000.
Importantly, standalone storage is not currently eligible for this tax credit: to claim this incentive for a home battery purchase, you need to charge the battery with an on-site renewable energy resource (like rooftop solar). If you have a residential solar panel system and you charge your battery with electricity from the grid, you cannot take advantage of this credit.