As a former medic, police officer, non-profit manager, legislative director and values-led business executive – Duane Peterson has always been dedicated to organizing people to take meaningful action towards positive change. Duane demonstrates this commitment in his latest venture as Co-President of SunCommon – a Vermont Benefit Corporation with a mission is to make it easy and affordable for homeowners to help repower Vermont with clean, safe, in-state energy.
Here’s how their model works: Customers interested in solar provide basic info about their home, electricity usage and utility. SunCommon then has a team of 100 workers who help figure out the best solar option for them. When rooftop or ground-mounted solar array is right for the homeowner, Solar Home Advisors assess sites for solar potential, visit homes to collect more info about the site and the electrical system, and prepare proposals for homeowners. The company’s engineers take care of the technical design and a Solar Guide manages the permitting, orders the equipment and arranges the installation. For folks whose sites can’t host solar or don’t want an array at their home, a Community Solar Array (CSA) is the right solar solution. About 30 homes can benefit from a CSA which can be located anywhere in the service area of their local utility company. SunCommon offers both these options for no upfront purchase cost and the customer pays through fixed monthly payments – trading their electric bill each month for a payment toward their solar solution.
SunCommon quickly grew into Vermont’s largest residential solar business, having helped 2,000 folks participate in the clean energy revolution.
Duane says, “James Moore and I launched SunCommon in the belief that everyone deserves a healthy environment and a safe world – and clean energy is where it starts. So we set out to do our bit to repower Vermont’s energy economy, turning away from the archaic mode of digging up fossil fuels that took millions of years to grow underground and burning them on the planet’s surface in an instant. And we save our fellow Vermonters money in the process. Imagine saving money by doing the right thing. That turns out to be popular.”