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.
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 offerIn 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.
Other Solarize Initiatives in our region include:
- Vermont: Charlotte, Shelburne, Hinesburg, Williston, Moretown, Thetford/Strafford (2014)
- Western Mass: Hatfield, Adams, Amherst, Great Barrington, Lee, Williamstown, Montague, Northampton, Whately (Sponsored by the Mass. Clean Energy Center)
- Connecticut: Portland, Lebanon, Cheshire, Enfield (Sponsored by the Conn. Clean Energy Fund)
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 Selectboard, respected community leader or organization steps up to initiate the program.
- Solarize Massachusetts: www.masscec.com/solarizemass
- Solarize Connecticut: www.solarizect.com
- Solarize Upper Valley: http://www.vitalcommunities.org/solarize/
Putney Is The First to Solarize
Putney was the first town in Southern Vermont to launch a Solarize campaign, with a ‘soft’ opening on Feb. 15th, 2014, and a grand opening at the Putney Community Center on March 15th.