Law and Policy for a New Economy
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Law and Policy for a New Economy

Sustainable, Just, and Democratic

Edited by Melissa K. Scanlan

This book makes the case for a New Environmentalism, and using a systems change approach, takes the reader through ideas for reorienting the economy. It addresses the laws and policies needed to support the emergence of a new economy across a variety of major areas – from energy to food, across common pool resources, and shifting investments to capitalize locally-connected and mission-driven businesses. The authors take the approach that the challenges are much broader than setting parameters around pollution, and go to the heart of the dominant global political economy. It explores the values needed to transform our current economic system into a new economy supportive of ecological integrity, social justice, and vibrant democracy.
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Chapter 9: Distributed renewables in the new economy: lessons from community solar development in Vermont

Kevin B. Jones and Mark James


Solar power is booming across the US, as PV panel costs fall and interest in clean and distributed energy grows. In Vermont, net-metered solar electric generation has grown dramatically over the last seven years due to state and federal policies incentivizing net metering. At the state level, Vermont established group net metering policies creating a stable source of revenue that its banks and credit unions have relied on to approve financing to purchase solar projects. The federal residential investment tax credit (ITC), providing a 30 percent credit for Solar PV generation, further supports solar ownership. While solar ownership has grown, some policymakers and advocates are concerned that the benefits of net-metered solar are not fairly distributed throughout the economy. This chapter explores trends in renewable energy development and how clean distributed energy may disrupt the current utility model. The chapter also explores current state and federal policies for solar development and how they can be used to promote meaningful community ownership: a model that supports the local economy while reducing carbon emissions. The chapter concludes by exploring strategies for scaling up Vermont‘s community solar model to support the goals of a new economy.

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