is a grassroots phenomenon to help homeowners and small businesses overcome the financial and logistical barriers to installing solar energy. Started in Portland, Oregon in 2009, it has since spread to hundreds of towns across America and is responsible for thousands of rooftop and backyard solar arrays. Solarize involves a competitive tiered pricing structure that increases the savings for everyone as more homes and businesses sign up.
The Core Elements of a Solarize project are:
1. Endorsement of the project by a municipality or other trusted community-based organization
2. Community volunteers for each town to organize and publicize the project
3. Selection of a contractor to install the solar systems
4. A discounted or ‘tiered’ pricing structure offered by the contractor that lowers each systems’ price when groups of people sign up to participate
5. Limited time offer
In addition to the above, it can be helpful to have a project organizer and technical advisor operating at a regional level to help individual towns to carry out their Solarize campaigns.
Community Solar: Solarize Windham is offering the unique option of a community solar project. This is a 'solar farm' that people can participate in who rent or whose homes are not well suited for solar. To learn more visit the Community Solar page of this website.
A Basic Town Solarize collective purchase program is designed to lead a homeowner through a simple process, from awareness to installation, over the course of roughly six months. The process includes: Awareness, Education & Publicity, Enrollment, Site Assessment, Decision and Installation.
Other Solarize Initiatives in our region include:
While it is helpful to have a Town Energy Committee to undertake the organizing of a Solarize initiative, it can certainly be done without one if a Select Board, respected community leader or organization steps up to initiate the program.
For More Information on Solarize in Windham County, contact Tad Montgomery at Home Energy Advocates in Brattleboro: (802) 251-0502 or email: Tad@HomeEnergyAdvocates.com. For information on Solarize programs in other areas:
Solarize in the Local News
The following articles about Solarize in Windham County have appeared in the local media:
Town Kickoff on September 11th
On August 12th the Westminster Select Board officially acknowledged our Solarize program in their town. It will kick off at 6 PM on Thursday, September 11th at the Westminster Institute, 3349 Route 5 (just south of the Post Office) with informational sessions and refreshments. The Vermont State Employee's Credit Union (VSECU) will be present to describe their special loan program to help homeowners with energy upgrades. The Neighborworks Heat Squad will also be present to describe their programs that offer low‐cost energy audits and project support to homeowners.
Solarize Westminster is scheduled to end on December 31st in order to help customers capture the Vermont tax rebate that will be expiring at the end of 2014. This solar incentive can be as much as $2,500, so time is of the essence.
For a full length article on Solarize Westminster, see September's Westminster Gazette. “Solar is popping up everywhere, and why not benefit from your Town’s participation as a whole” said Town Manager Russ Hodgkins. “This is a way for a lot of homeowners to make it happen for themselves and participate in a State wide program which promotes renewable energy resources.”
Townshend to Solarize
Town Kickoff on September 18th
The Townshend Select Board formally acknowledged our Solarize program at their meeting on August 18th. A grand kickoff event is being planned at Town Hall for September 18th from 6-8 PM. Stay tuned for details, it should be fun!
Putney was the first to Solarize
Putney was the first town in Southern Vermont to launch a Solarize campaign. The energy companies chosen include:
The Putney Solarize Campaign ran from March 15th to June 30th, 2014.
Many thanks to Putney Energy coordinator Daniel Hoviss and the Putney Energy Committee for leading the way.
Other towns are actively working with Solarize Windham to launch Solarize programs. If you want to help get a discount Solarize program off the ground, contact your town energy committee, energy coordinator and Select Board to let them know, and then call us at Solarize Windham. We'll help!