PUTNEY -- A few months ago a family member asked Nick Ziter what options might be available to him for accessing solar power.
His house did not get enough sun light, he told Ziter, but he still wanted to use the sun to power his home.
Ziter told him to find a solar farm, which is popular out west and in Europe, and Ziter assumed was available in green-friendly Vermont.
After doing a little research, Ziter found out that there were, in fact, no solar farms in southern Vermont.
He has been trying to change that fact ever since.
Ziter is looking for partners for his company, SunFarm Community Solar, to start a solar farm on land he has secured in Putney.
Under Ziter's plan, members would invest in the infrastructure and then receive the benefits from the solar power on their energy bill.
They can purchase the power in shares, and buy as little, or as much, as they feel they can afford.
"I couldn't believe that no one had tried this in Vermont," Ziter said. "When I found out this wasn't available, I decided I had to start one."
Ziter is a Putney native, BUHS and UVM graduate, and he is in the middle of a master's program in sustainable architecture.
He was not planning on embarking on a project like this, but since putting the word out on the potential solar farm, Ziter said there seems to be interest and he is moving ahead.
He hopes to be producing energy on the farm before the end
"This is a chance for people to make an investment in clean energy," Ziter said. "Things are moving pretty fast now."
Ziter has a 60-acre field in East Putney which the land owner has agreed could be used for the project.
He is looking to build a 150 kilowatt field, which would be about twice the size of the solar panels at the Harlow Farm in Westminster.
Each 100 watt share cost $285 and the solar energy produced will be taken off of the home owner's monthly bill by Green Mountain Power.
A home with an annual electric bill of $1,500 would need 92 shares to have 100 percent of its power produced by the solar farm.
Ziter says that within 15 years, the member would have his or her investment covered, and the power produced beyond that would be free.
The farm works especially well for home owners who do not get enough sun for their own solar panels, he said, and it could also be good for people who rent.
The solar credits can be transferred to any electric bill.
"A lot of people say they want to support clean energy but it's not available to everyone," said Ziter. "I am trying to make it easy for everyone. This is a way the community can support solar power and invest in the future."
For more information on the project go to www.sunfarmvt.com
Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at email@example.com, or 802-254-2311 ext. 279. Follow him on Twitter @HowardReformer.