Easton goes solar: Install a panel, get a discount

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Brendan Smith from Sunlight Solar and Cathy Alfandre of Easton’s Clean Energy Task Force greet guests at the Sept. 7 Taste of Easton event. Photo by Laura Modlin

The town of Easton is participating in a solar program that will provide discounts to residents for the installation of solar panels on their homes.

Redding and Trumbull are joining Easton in the Solarize Connecticut program through the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA), a quasi public agency. The three towns are joining eight others in Phase 3, which expects “to more than double the amount of solar” during the 20-week program. Residents who want to participate in the program must sign a contract by Feb. 9, 2014.

“I am delighted that Easton is a Solarize community,” said First Selectman Tom Herrmann. “I know that there are many homeowners out there who have been thinking about installing a solar PV system, but have been hesitating to make the investment. Now that Easton, Redding, and Trumbull have come together, these systems will be so much more affordable. I hope that many Easton residents will take advantage of this special opportunity.”

Solarize is offered by CEFIA in partnership with SmartPower, a private company that specializes in marketing for non profits, in a program that leverages group discounts through a pre-selected installer to reduce the cost of solar installation. It relies, according to a release, on communities to provide outreach and education and to create interest in the program. The set time frame to participate in the program is aimed at motivating residents to act.

Cathy Alfandre, chair of the Easton Clean Energy Task Force, introduced the program to the Board of Selectmen in July. Since then, Trumbull and Redding have joined Easton in the program.

Ms. Alfandre said that she and another member of the Task Force, Carroll Brooke, participated in the selection of the solar installer for the three towns. There were 10 installers, “and we heard presentations and interviewed all of them,” she said. The representatives of the three towns then selected Sunlight Solar Energy, with offices in New Haven, as its choice.

“The goal is to reach Tier 5, the lowest price point [offered by the company for the installation of the solar panels],” said Ms. Alfandre. Sunlight Solar bid on the towns’ business and the bid is based on a certain number of installations, she said, adding the more residents that participate, the lower the price.

“Everyone who gets solar will get the lowest price point at the end of the program, even the first residents to sign up,” Ms. Alfandre said. She noted that with a federal tax credit and a state incentive, the cost of installing solar may never again be this low. State incentives are expected to decline in the future, she said.

As a group, the towns have a goal of 50 new homes with solar across the three towns.

“We already have more than 20 residents in Easton with solar panels on their homes. I hope that many more will join them over the next few months,” said Ms. Alfandre.

A resident who is interested in learning more may contact Sunlight Solar directly at 203-878-9123 or visit solarizect.com/easton. A resident can ask for a no-cost, no-obligation assessment of their home, and they will be contacted by a Sunlight Solar representative within a day or two.

The company will then go online to view the homeowner’s house, taking a look at the roof and nearby trees to determine if there is enough sun exposure, she said. If there is, then a meeting would be set up at the homeowner’s residence to calculate the number of panels, the percentage of sunlight absorption and what the system could generate.

The representative will also ask to see past years’ electric bills to determine how much power would need to be generated by the panels.

“Depending on the size of the system, it is very possible for a resident to replace the electricity that is being purchased from UI with electricity generated by solar at their home,” Ms. Alfandre said.

Flexible funding options are offered from leasing to buying, according to Sunlight Solar. The installer said with leasing there is comprehensive insurance and warranty coverage for 20 years, “and the lowest monthly payments.”

Some homeowners pay cash or use a home equity loan. Energize Connecticut, the state’s energy initiative, is also offering homeowners a number of long-term, low-cost financing options available through the installer. The options include both no-money-down or low down payments on financing.

Among Sunlight Solar’s loan options is the Smart E-Loan that provides a no-money-down option through a bank or credit union, along with flexible terms.

Those who buy are eligible for a 30% federal tax write off on their solar installation and a state incentive based on the installation, said Ms. Alfandre. There is also the discount with Solarize, which can be up to 20% on a lease. The federal discounts and state incentive under a lease situation would belong to the leasing company, she said.

The first workshop on the program is set for Sunday, Sept. 22, at Madison Middle School, 4630 Madison Ave., Trumbull, from 2 to 3:30. Interested residents are urged to attend this event, where they will have the opportunity to ask questions and learn more.

An additional local workshop on the program will be scheduled in early October.

More information about the program may be found at solarizect.com/Easton-Redding-Trumbull or contact Sunlight Solar Energy directly at 203-878-9123, or visit sunlightsolar.com.

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  • hua

    We already have more than 20 people in Easton and solar panels, in their homes. I hope more in the coming months will join them
    To learn more please visit: http://www.solarpanelcellonline.com/

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