Solarize our Community!

By Zachariah Ralph

Solarize 2016- Barnard, Bridgewater, Hartland, Pomfret, Reading, and Woodstock
Spring is here and with spring comes more hours of day light. Current solar home owners will start to see their electrical meters run backwards, creating solar credits to be used during the dark winter months.

Over the last couple of weeks, Sustainable Woodstock along volunteers from energy committees in six surrounding communities, including Barnard, Bridgewater, Hartland, Pomfret, Reading, and Woodstock, held five different launch events for “Solarize 2016!” These launch events were an opportunity for homeowners curious about solar to come and learn about our initiative, to meet the solar installer, Catamount, and to learn how to get involved.

wl1Solarize is a very successful initiative that was started by Vital Communities. Sustainable Woodstock has since decided to lead a Solarize initiative for 6 towns in the area. Last year Sustainable Woodstock helped organize “Solarize Woodstock/ Pomfret” where 25 homeowners signed up new solar installations, doubling the solar in our area!

Sustainable Woodstock conducted a very competitive selection process to decide who the selected installer for the Solarize Pomfret/Woodstock campaign would be and chose to partner with Catamount Solar of Randolph. Catamount is a local, employee owned company, with lots of experience installing solar installations. They were also chosen because they would best match the energy and needs of our community.

Solarize is designed to create more residential solar by bringing down the costs of the installation. “Solarize 2016” started at the beginning of March and goes until the June 30th. Homeowners that sign up for a solar installation during this time will receive discounts based on a tiered pricing system. As more people sign up for solar the overhead costs go down which allows for Catamount to pass on the savings to residents. This ultimately can save homeowners thousands of dollars on the installation! Currently we are just about into the 2nd tier!

Solarize 2016 helps Sustainable Woodstock work towards achieving its mission by giving people opportunities to go solar. Many in our area want solar and understand the reasons why it is so important. However, the initial high costs of it can often times prevent even the most diehard environmentalist from making the investment. By creating extra financial incentives for solar, in addition to a 30% federal tax credit, we can help align the desires of our heart with the practicality of our mind to make solar a reality for more people.

Oil prices are low right now but it will certainly increase over time. Whether it is a sudden spike in prices or gradual incline solar homeowners will not see their monthly expenses on electricity prices fluctuate with market prices.

The status of solar for 2017 is uncertain in Vermont. The state is considering reducing or getting rid of “adders.” This could potentially reduce the value of solar credits. Next year solar homeowners may also be required to sell the renewable energy credits of their array to the utility company or otherwise be penalized. Finally we may see some big changes in net metering. Recently in Nevada they completely did away with net metering and as a result the solar industry is declining in one of the best states for solar!

Fortunately, people that sign up for solar this year will more than likely be grandfathered into the new regulations for 10 years. So sign up for solar this year! To learn what options are available for you to start producing your own clean renewable solar energy is to schedule a free site visit of your roof or property. Contact Catamount Solar to schedule your site visit by calling 728-3600. Join us for a tour of solar installations in Pomfret this coming Sunday May 1st at 2:00PM starting at Anne Bower’s home at757 Cloudland Rd. in Pomfret. See you there.

Just do one thing: Go Solar!

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