Are new regulations killing Vermont's solar success story?

Vermont solar job losses tied to net metering changes

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"Their capital will allow us to get more solar on the grid and create more jobs in 2018", says Aaron Halimi, founder and president of Renewable Properties.

Renewable Energy Vermont's Olivia Campbell Andersen says a new census shows Vermont's solar industry lost 232 full-time jobs in 2017 - that's 15-percent of the workforce. She blames the regulatory environment.

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Riley Allen, deputy commissioner of the Vermont Department of Public Service, which regulates energy industries, said the 2017 dip in solar jobs in Vermont needs to be seen in the context of an industry that has been booming in recent years. However, the exploitation of solar power in Vietnam has not matched the great potential. And while the USA solar industry lost jobs overall, mostly due to the "hangover" from a policy-driven boom in 2016, Vermont's 13% decline was more than three times steeper as the national average. "I think we're doing very well".

Patrick Fox, managing partner of New Energy Capital says, "The Renewable Properties team understands key market drivers and has identified viable investment opportunities throughout the U.S. We're pleased to have the opportunity to support them going forward".

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And at least one Vermont utility is not seeing solar suffering from new net-metering rules.

Data from the Solar Foundation, a national industry group, found the 250,271 workers in the USA solar industry in 2017 marked a 3.8 percent decline from the previous year. "Vermont's job loss is over three times the national average, at 13%, indicating that something more than national politics is affecting the sector". "We're not asking for rule changes, what we're asking for is stability", she said.

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Renewable Energy Vermont has also expressed concern about the 30% import duties on imported solar imposed by the Trump Administration, particularly as regards community solar.

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