Yeloha, the Boston-based startup that allows customers to go solar without owning a single panel, was already a game-changer when it first debuted in June. But its latest move could alter the energy landscape even further.
#Vermont We can't wait to bring #solar to you w @GreenMtnPower @FastCompany @btschiller http://t.co/DE1F0eWZAQ http://t.co/uvtSdN3Gz3— Yeloha Solar (@Yeloha Solar)1442929396.0
"This partnership marks the first utility-adopted Sharing Economy platform to offer its customers the opportunity to generate their own energy and share it with other residents online. The initiative represents a beacon of change for energy nationwide," said Amit Rosner, Yeloha co-founder and CEO.
GMP is a well-regarded energy provider itself. For instance, it's the first utility in the world to receive B Corp certification, and one of the first energy companies in the country to offer Tesla's new home battery.
Disruptive partnership: @YelohaSolar & utility @GreenMtnPower partner to unlock "Power to the People by the People" http://t.co/dokfWpaaLk— Amit Rosner (@Amit Rosner)1442864693.0
Solar energy, which is on track for another record-breaking year, is something that many Americans want but, unfortunately, can't have. Not everyone owns their own home, and for those who do, photovoltaic panels might not be an affordable reality, or their roofs might not be suitable if it's blocked by shade. That's why this partnership between Yeloha and GMP could change the status quo.
The companies are basically making it possible for Vermonters without panels, such as renters and apartment dwellers, to purchase (cheaper and cleaner) solar off another homeowner's or business' roof. On the flip side, Vermonters who do have a suitable roof will be offered to host the panels free of charge in exchange for sharing some of their solar power.
The service seems like a win-win-win for hosts, partners and our clean energy future alike.
"This is a unique opportunity to empower more people to be able to harness the power of the sun," said GMP president and CEO Mary Powell. "We see a tremendous opportunity in leveraging more rooftops around Vermont for the benefit of all those who may currently be renters, or own homes that are not well suited for solar."
"As Vermont's energy company of the future, we are transforming the old grid system into one where power is generated and consumed closer to the home or community where it is needed," she continued. "This partnership with Yeloha will help accelerate this revolution in distributed power."
Powell admitted to Fast Company that the grid today is highly inefficient, citing how GMP needs to maintain two, expensive and rarely used diesel-powered "peaker plants" that generally run only when energy demands are high. She envisions a future in which the grid is merely a backup for local networks.
She also admitted that GMP, which hasn't lost significant revenue due to solar yet, could in the future. According to Fast Company, to make up for possible revenue losses, GMP plans to "[reduce] investment in long-range transmission and distribution, and by being a partner to customers as they upgrade their homes and businesses. Utilities can share in the revenue going to third-party contractors installing solar and associated equipment, she believes."
Rosner envisions expanding Yeloha to other utilities beyond Vermont. "Although utility partnerships are not a requirement for our expansion into new territories, by partnering directly with GMP, the process can be greatly accelerated and can become more flexible," he told Fast Company.
“What we’re in the business of doing is trying to accelerate a consumer revolution.” says @MaryGPowell #vt http://t.co/GeiUbxBC8l— Green Mountain Power (@Green Mountain Power)1442931020.0
The GMP-Yeloha pilot program will kick off in the Vermont cities of Rutland and Barre.
“We are thrilled to have this new option for our residents who rent or live where solar isn’t possible,” said Barre Mayor Thom Lauzon. “Bringing the value and benefits of solar to more Vermonters is a great step forward and will help economically here and across the state.”
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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Naomi Larsson
For centuries, the delicate silver dove has been a symbol of love and fidelity.
Biodiversity and Habitat Loss<p>Their near extinction is a symbol of the <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/global-biodiversity-outlook-targets-extinction-summit-new-york-pledge/a-54932895" target="_blank">biodiversity crisis</a> in the UK, largely driven by habitat destruction. Britain is now one of the countries with the most <a href="https://www.wwf.org.uk/future-of-UK-nature#:~:text=The%20UK%20is%20one%20of,than%20half%20are%20in%20decline" target="_blank">depleted nature</a> in the world according to the World Wildlife Fund. Half its plant and animal species are in decline and more than <a href="https://www.rspb.org.uk/about-the-rspb/about-us/media-centre/press-releases/let-nature-sing-wales/#:~:text=a%20natural%20tragedy.-,Over%2040%20million%20birds%20have%20vanished%20from%20UK%20skies%20in,unaware%20of%20the%20impending%20danger" target="_blank">40 million birds</a> have vanished in just half a century.</p><p>"[Turtle doves] are the canary in the [coal] mine because there are all these other species before it and after it," said Tree. "It's an umbrella for all the other species that are heading that way."</p><p>Turtle doves migrate south through Europe to sub-Saharan Africa between July and September, ending up in dry woodland and farmland areas of countries like Mali and Senegal for winter. </p><p>Droughts in West Africa and the Sahel region are believed to have contributed to the fall in turtle dove species recorded in northern Europe, with low rainfall reducing supplies of the seeds and insects the birds rely on for energy for the long journey home.</p>
Conservation and Farming<p><a href="https://www.operationturtledove.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Operation Turtle Dove,</a> a partnership project of charities including the Essex Wildlife trust, works with landowners and farmers to actively build turtle dove habitat.</p><p>Outten works with <a href="https://www.ebws.org.uk/birdsites/blue-house-farm-ewt-north-fambridge" target="_blank">Blue House Farm</a>, a 660-acre nature reserve in the UK county of Essex, where they have replicated weedy fallow plots. </p><p>"We work on it every year to make sure it's in the condition it needs to be with plants such as clovers and black medic," Outten said. "These plants are native to the landscape and produce the seed the birds feed on." </p><p>The birds eat a wide range of seeds from various plants that would have been abundant 50 or 100 years ago, added Guy Anderson, program manager for species recovery with The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). </p><p>"But it's simply true that with the gradual process of <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/farming-without-pesticides-how-can-we-make-agriculture-greener/a-52216796" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">intensifying our agricultural production</a>, the availability of those seeds has dropped and dropped," said Anderson.</p><p>Part of the project includes supplementary feeding — providing sources of food in the form of seed or grain. Under the Countryside Stewardship Scheme in England, farmers can receive financial support to create a turtle dove habitat. </p><p>Though they haven't recorded an increase in doves across the sites in the four years of working on the project, Outten said they are seeing improvements in how landowners and farmers manage habitat for the birds. </p>
A Turtle Dove Haven<p>The 3,500-acre Knepp Estate in West Sussex is another project taking a different approach and one of the few places where turtle dove numbers are increasing.</p><p>Isabella Tree and her husband Charlie Burrell converted their intensively farmed land into a rewilding project almost 20 years ago. They have let the land return to nature.</p><p>Just one year after they'd finished <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/uks-most-talented-architects-are-not-human/a-35952128" target="_blank">rewilding</a> the southern part of their property, they heard turtle doves for the first time. It's now a breeding hotspot for the birds with an estimated 19 pairs. Knepp is also home to <a href="https://www.rewildingbritain.org.uk/rewilding/rewilding-projects/knepp-estate" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2% of the UK's population</a> of nightingales. </p><p>Tree is critical of supplementary feeding schemes that, in her view, are short term. She questions the chances of turtle doves getting to feed on scattered seeds before other mammals eat them first.</p>
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