Founded in 2012 by Duane Peterson and James Moore, Suncommon is a Certified B Corporation that operates in Vermont. The company offers residential solar solutions in the form of rooftop systems and community arrays.
With a goal to help remove barriers to renewable energy access and create a more healthy environment and a brighter future, the company hosts numerous free workshops and events and provides free solar estimates for local residents.
In the past two years, Suncommon has won numerous awards and accolades for its excellence in solar business practices.
For those consumers whose homes or situations may not be a good fit for solar panels, Suncommon offers the option to join its Community Solar Array (CSA). This program places a group solar array on an acre of land nearby and has the capacity to meet the energy needs of approximately 30 residences with clean energy.
Group net metering gives each CSA member a solar energy credit on their electricity bill. Participants pay $1 to join the CSA and agree to a monthly payment with guaranteed utility bill savings of 7 percent.
Suncommon offers several financing options with low interest rates for customers who would like to switch to renewable energy and own their solar panels. These options include a 12-year loan with 2.99 percent interest and a 20-year loan with 3.99 percent interest. All loans are funded through Vermont's statewide credit union. Monthly payments will be similar to current average electric bills.
If customers would prefer to purchase a system outright rather than finance with a loan, the solar company also offers the option to pay in full with cash. According to Suncommon, the average cost of a system is around $25,000.
Suncommon installs solar panels on pitched roofs, but will not perform installations on flat rooftops. Additionally, the company will not install panels on rooftops that feature cedar or slate shingles.
Residents who are part of a homeowner's association may also face constraints when trying to install a solar system.
Certain other limitations may apply, especially if the home faces north or has significant tree shading. However, ground mounting may be an alternative option for these types of homes.
Suncommon has faced public controversy. According to a few articles available online, there have been complaints that Suncommon's Community Solar Array program does not give members access to the benefits that they were supposedly eligible for.
However, Suncommon has responded that CSA members do not own the solar array and therefore are not eligible for federal or state incentives. It appears that the company did not explain this to CSA members very well beforehand, though. In addition to the confusion about incentive eligibility, consumers who live near CSAs are unhappy with the visual impact the arrays have on the rural landscape.
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