Solarize Newtown Initiative Launched This Week

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Residents had a chance Tuesday evening to learn more about the Solarize Connecticut, Solarize Newtown launch, “a unique discount buying program that uses a tiered-pricing structure, town-supported education and outreach … to dramatically reduce the cost of solar.”

“The more residents sign up for Solarize, the more the cost comes down,” according to Solarizect.com/our-towns/solarize-newtown. The goal is to increase the number of residences with solar from the current 40 to as many as 100, First Selectman Pat Llodra said. Homeowners must sign up for the program before February 11.

“This is a unique opportunity for the residents of Newtown to install solar energy on their homes at a reduced cost. Solar allows you to significantly reduce your monthly utility bill and helps diversify our energy mix,” said Kathy Quinn, Sustainable Energy Commission chairman. Her hope is to increase the town and residential use of clean energy sources. Her commission sees Solarize Newtown “as a big step in that direction.”

The Solarize Connecticut goal is to double the number of solar installations per town in the state.

Ms Llodra opened the meeting launching Solarize Newtown, saying, “More residents are harnessing the sun’s power and reducing utility bills,” she said. Adding solar to the home is a “commitment” to the future, children, grandchildren, and Mother Earth. Solar energy makes “good economic sense and is good social policy,” she said. Ms Llodra is “very excited” about the prospective solar initiative, and encourages residents to “determine if this is good for you.”

Essentially, the state-sponsored program, backed by the town, is starting a 20-week campaign to sign up residents for home solar installations said Bob Wall, with the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA), which oversees the program. He summarized the effort in three words, “Solar. Simple. Together.” He said, “There has never been a better time to go solar.” Working with provider and installer Astrum Solar, and hoping to work with residents for new installations, he said, “Together we can accomplish great things.”

He noted the tiered pricing systems for solar installations, and also noted that homeowners can lease a solar system with no money down. Depending on the number of solar panels, residences could potentially add to the power grid, and reduce or eliminate electricity bills.

Toni Bouchard of Smart Power encouraged guests to spread the word and help get the solar initiative moving. “Talk about what you heard here and get other people thinking about solar.” She also encouraged residents “not to wait” for the February deadline, but get in touch with Astrum Solar now for a site visit and assessment for a home installation.

Astrum team member Thom Smith is one of several company representatives who will consult with homeowners, evaluate homes, and talk about costs and utility bill savings depending on the installation and number of homes participating.

He described solar as “easy technology,” with panels on the roof sending electricity to a converter to run the house. He said, “If you generate more than you use, you get credit for whatever you send into the grid.” His team is offering no-obligation site surveys as part of the process to help people “go solar,” with either a leased or purchased system.

A series of state and federal credits and incentives are available, plus the long-term utility saving. A $34,000 installation is reduced to roughly $17,000 after incentives and credits. The benefits and savings “snowballs,” he said. The first ten residences to sign up will receive $1,000 cash back “for leading the way,” he said. Visit go.astrumsolar.com/solarizenewtown to learn more about savings and free site visits.

He and others spent the next few minutes answering individual questions. Sustainable Energy Commission member Desiree Galassi, who has been considering solar power for her home, said, “This program has taken concerns away.” She trusts the people running the program and she said she will most likely lease a solar system. She estimates that she will save about $68 a month, “and that is meaningful to me.” She is “very confident,” with what she heard Tuesday night.

The Solarize Connecticut program was first launched last year. Four towns — Fairfield, Westport, Portland, and Durham — initially participated and each reached their solar goals. Newtown will be working with Astrum Solar, using a tiered pricing chart, and Mr Smith told residents Wednesday that he believes Newtown can reach its goal of more than 100 solar systems. Learn more at SolarizeCT.com.

More stories like this: Llodra, solar power, Solarize Newtown, CEFIA, Astrum Solar
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