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Welch outlines stimulus bill’s impact on Vermont’s green economy Friday in White River Junction

February 27, 2009
Press Release



Provision advocated by Welch will help spur renewable energy development


WHITE RIVER JUNCTION, VT - At a tour of groSolar's White River Junction headquarters Friday morning, Rep. Peter Welch outlined how the recently-passed economic stimulus bill will help grow Vermont's green energy economy and create jobs in the state.


Welch successfully advocated for specific language to help solar companies like groSolar benefit from the stimulus bill.


The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act included nearly $70 billion in funding to infrastructure projects and tax credits in the green energy sector, helping to create jobs while fighting climate. Vermont is expected to receive tens of millions of dollars in green energy investments, including $21 million through the federal State Energy Program and $23 million for weatherization.


"As we work to revitalize our economy, we must recognize the role green energy can play in creating new jobs - here in Vermont and throughout the country," Welch told a group of 40 groSolar employers in the company's warehouse. "GroSolar is a prime example of how innovative Vermonters can become leaders in the green energy economy and create jobs right here in Vermont."


GroSolar, which was founded by Dori and Jeff Wolfe in their Strafford living room in 1998, became the fourth largest residential solar installer in the country last week with the acquisition of a California company. Dori Wolfe and groSolar chief operating officer Jim Merriam noted Welch's successful efforts to ensure that tax credits for solar projects in the stimulus bill would be available to groSolar and similar companies.


After meeting with Jeff Wolfe during the debate over the stimulus, Welch advocated for a change in the bill that would increase the number of solar projects that would be eligible for stimulus funds. The House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition, of which Welch serves as Vice Chairman, supported the Welch initiative and sent a letter to House leadership advocating for this change. It was included in the final bill.


"Peter was particularly helpful in getting language in the bill that allows the stimulus to support job-creating solar projects," Wolfe said. "Peter took on this challenge and, as Vice Chair of the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Caucus, pushed for a five word change that ensured our country can continue growing our solar industry and creating great jobs."


The final bill allowed for solar projects to receive support if they have commenced construction by September 30, 2011, a provision that was necessary in order for the bill to have a positive effect on new solar developments nationwide.