First solar canopy in Vermont installed in St. Albans

Elaine Ezerins

By Elaine Ezerins

Staff Writer

The Facts

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‘The dual-purpose solar canopy was a perfect fit. A no-brainer’

- Scott Lemmon, homeowner

ST. ALBANS — Vermont solar company SunCommon installed the state’s first residential solar canopy here Tuesday.

The solar company’s latest innovation, a timber frame solar structure, expands solar options beyond roof top or ground mounted solar, which is what attracted St. Albans homeowner Scott Lemmon to the system.

“Our roof wasn’t a great fit for solar, both in size and aesthetics, so a ground-mounted option was best,” said Lemmon. “But we didn’t want to use precious yard space, so the dual-purpose solar canopy was a perfect fit. A no-brainer.”

With the solar canopy being eight feet tall, it allows homeowners and small businesses to go solar over their driveways, patios, woodpiles or create an outdoor entertaining space.

“We designed it with many uses in mind,” said Emily McManamy, a representative of SunCommon. “We were hearing feedback that folks were looking for kind of dual purpose. So while some homeowners are planning to park their cars underneath it, homeowners like Scott are planning on using it as an entertaining space.”

Each solar canopy is 23 by 19 feet, large enough to cover two parking spaces. The panels are supported by a timber-frame structure, each joint hand-fitted with a chisel and pegs.

“We really wanted to honor the Vermont esthetic, that hand craftsmanship,” said McManamy. “For people that are looking for a solar solution that is also beautiful, this is a good fit for them.”

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  • Melody Reed

    Looks great for summer but what about winter snow removal? There’s not much pitch to that shed roof. ?

    • Joel Rhodes

      I’ve seen the canopy at the Hunger Mountain Coop in Montpelier shed snow pretty quickly after a snowfall. It’s a slick, glass surface, and the sun goes to work on it quickly!

      • Melody Reed

        I have solar panels and live off the grid so I know about snow shedding. We adjust our panels so that they capture the most sunlight in winter, which means they’re very vertical and sometimes the snow still piles up. Well, I hope these work. I think the more solar power we have the better!

    • Jennifer Burt

      The “dark days” are calculated into the yeild. Most of your generation is March thru September.

  • Steven Martel

    What is the cost$$$$$

    • Hi Steven! The Solar Canopy produces enough solar power to offset the average $140-150/month power bill. Through our no upfront cost financing, the Canopy monthly cost is about $160/month. Unlike most home improvement projects, the Canopy starts working for you on day one by generating power thus offsetting or eliminating the cost of your electricity.

    • Jennifer Burt

      Cost neutral…no brainer. Sun Common is great to work with. Make a solar payment instead of a payment to the electric company.

  • Robert Lehmert

    You could add walls, a door and windows, and make it into gramma’s house…

  • Kathy Leonard

    Who owns the renewable energy credits? If the homeowner doesn’t, it is legally not considered to be renewable energy in Vermont, per the Atty General’s office. Whoever owns the credits owns the renewable attributes. Don’t give em away, folks!