Vermont Demand for FIT Contracts Exceed Supply

By Paul Gipe


Vermont’s feed-in tariff program, dubbed VermontSpeed after an existing program, specified a program cap of 50 MW.

Vermont’s Public Service Board (PSB) ruled that each of the four technologies would have access to an equal amount of program capacity. Thus each technology could have no more than 12.5 MW.

When the program opened its doors electronically on October 19, 2009 it received applications for 208 MW, 172 MW of which were for solar PV projects.

The administrator of the program chose to award contracts by lottery among those who applied.

There are two important lessons from the launch of the Vermont program.

  • There is an enormous pent up demand for solar PV at the tariff chosen.
  • There was no differentiation in the solar PV tariff, unlike in Ontario, Germany, and elsewhere.

The lack of tariff differentiation for Solar PV led to large projects hogging capacity at a tariff designed for smaller projects.

The principal of tariff differentiation based on the estimated cost of generation has been successfully demonstrated in Germany, France, Spain, and now Ontario.

It is nearly impossible to get a single tariff right that will allow rooftop residential solar PV to earn a profit without overpaying for larger solar PV projects whether rooftop or ground mounted.

Vermont SPEED Application Summary