As they continue to work on the Georgetown University Energy Prize competition, South Burlington Energy Committee members chat with local residents about switching to electric vehicles at the Sun Carnival.  

Driving Toward a Clean Energy Future

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Thursday August 25, 2016

The Georgetown University Energy Prize deadline is this December, and members of the South Burlington Energy Committee are urging local residents to participate in efficiency and solar programs now, before the contest ends. The Georgetown Energy Prize (GUEP)is a first-of-its-kind, $5 million incentive prize awarded to the community that leads the way in energy efficiency. The City of South Burlington is among the semi-finalists aiming to win the GUEP contest, which challenges participating communities to tap their imagination and creativity, and work together with their local governments, residents, and utilities toward a shared goal of continually reducing energy consumption.

South Burlington Energy Committee members were on hand at the 3rd Annual Sun CARnival at the University Mall last weekend. The Sunday afternoon community event, organized and hosted by SunCommon, Vermont’s largest solar business, was a social opportunity to educate and engage with fellow community members and organizations about electric transportation options.

SunCommon joined with the city’s energy committee and Drive Electric Vermont to challenge Vermonters’ relationship with fossil fuels by introducing a sustainable alternative. “We believe everyone has the right to a healthy environment and safer world. Electric vehicles are a way that Vermonters can move toward a clean energy future,” said Clary Franko, SunCommon’s asstant organizing director. “Solar and EV technology are a perfect fit and save people money. Driving an EV for the equivalent of $1 per gallon of gasoline is a no-brainer.”   

South Burlington Energy Committee member Linda McGinnis said, “We need to get as many South Burlington residents to understand what they can do to save energy at home through efficiency, power generation and now transportation. The Sun CARnival is an important - and fun - piece of the puzzle.”

“I went electric because I believe that each of us should do everything we can to move away from fossil fuels,” said McGinnis. She went electric after driving an EV at last year’s Sun CARnival. “We’re here to show people that you can drive a car powered by the sun with zero emissions. That’s about as cool as it gets! And helping people understand how to save money by going electric is even better,” she said.

“I’m here today to show people that you can do it. Pairing solar and electric vehicles is a winning combination,” said Mark Pittman Walker, a solar homeowner and electric vehicle driver from Jericho. “I’m getting my energy from the solar system on the roof of my garage and driving with sun energy. I can’t stand that this country is tied down to oil. Everything we do revolves around burning oil, getting it out of the ground and spilling it into the oceans. I went solar to become energy independent.”

There is still time to go solar at home, add to the city’s tally for the prize and help our neighborhood schools through the energy committee’s solar donation program. For every solar system that gets installed in 2016 by a participating installers, the installers will make a donation (which can be $200 or more per installation) towards a solar system for the South Burlington School District. Thousands of dollars have been raised so far, and now is the best time to contact a solar installer to be sure they can complete the installation by the end of the year. Details can be found at