At last week's Equinox celebration, we named Green Mountain Power (GMP) our 2014 Utility Solar Champion. We were thrilled to have President and CEO Mary Powell join us in person to receive the award for her company's outstanding efforts to make solar power a mainstream energy resource. Her passion and vision for embracing a new relationship with their increasingly solar-powered customer base was truly inspirational.
Serving 75% of Vermont, GMP is the state's largest electric utility. Led by Powell, GMP is a shining example of a utility that is working to find new ways to meet strong customer demand for solar. Unlike many of its utility peers, GMP has set a precedent for recognizing the full value of increased private, distributed solar investment on its grid. GMP has championed raising the state’s net metering cap to ensure that energy customers continue to be fairly compensated for the valuable local power they deliver to the utility. Net metering is one of a number of programs GMP has championed to achieve its goals of delivering low cost, low carbon, reliable power.
“Green Mountain Power stands out from the pack as a renewable energy leader, especially for their work on solar. Under the guidance of CEO Mary Powell, GMP recognizes the significant value of having more Vermonters go solar. The utility is creating partnerships with customers who want to go solar, and is working with policymakers to build a cleaner, safer, more reliable power grid," said Adam Browning, Vote Solar's executive director.
GMP is also partnering with industry leaders and state and community officials to deliver on the goal of making Rutland, Vermont the solar capital of New England. The result is the development of a new Energy Innovation Center and new investments in economic development and renewable energy in the area.
“It is an honor to be recognized for our work by Vote Solar with this award,” said Mary Powell, President and CEO of Green Mountain Power. “Our company believes very strongly in the future of solar and the deeper connection to energy that it fosters with our customers. In addition to working hard to deliver reliable, clean and cost effective power, we are embracing a future that has more customers powering their own homes and businesses. At GMP, we intend to be both a catalyst and strong partner in that transformation. That is why we are working so hard to continue to increase the availability of solar power."
With Americans plugging into solar power at record rates, it’s an exciting time for energy. Both the opportunities and the challenges for continued solar growth loom large in this rapidly changing electricity landscape. While many traditional power interests are resisting such change, GMP is instead helping lead the charge to embrace innovation, find solutions and drive progress so we can repower our grid with sunshine. That's something to celebrate.