Solarize Montgomery Makes it Easier and More Affordable to Harness the Power of the Sun
Community Housing Partners (CHP), Montgomery County, the Town of Blacksburg, the Town of Christiansburg, the New River Valley Planning District Commission, and VA SUN successfully launched Solarize Montgomery on Earth Day, April 22, at the Montgomery County Government Center. Building off of last year’s successful Solarize Blacksburg program, Solarize Montgomery is designed to make solar affordable and accessible to homeowners and businesses throughout Montgomery County.
“We’ve had a lot of people say they were interested in solar energy but were not sure they could afford it,” said CHP Energy Efficiency Programs Manager Chase Counts. “In response, we created last year’s Solarize Blacksburg campaign in which we lined up the discounts, secured the loan programs, and streamlined the solar process so that solar could become a truly viable and attractive energy option for more people. A lot of Montgomery County residents asked when Solarize would be coming their way—and now it has! In fact, we have signed up 90 households for the program since our kick-off event in April,” added Counts.
In order to make solar energy cost less than standard electricity over the life of the system, the Solarize Montgomery program combines a time-limited discount, a 30 percent federal tax credit, and very favorable options for long-term financing. Counts says the loan payments on a solar system for a typical house are expected to match the electricity savings, making solar a “break even” proposition from day one, while protecting the homeowner or business from increases in electricity prices in the future.
If a homeowner or business is interested in going solar, Solarize Montgomery will begin by conducting a satellite site assessment of the house or building to determine if the roof is suitable for solar installation. From there, a free home assessment is conducted by the solar installer to determine what size system might work for the home, balanced with the occupants’ energy needs and their budget. Once the interested party has made the choice to install solar, Solarize Montgomery will direct him or her to a range of financing options from First Bank of NC, SC, and VA, which is offering a financing package specifically for the Solarize Montgomery program.
Through a comprehensive and competitive bidding process, two local and qualified solar installers were selected for last year’s Solarize Blacksburg campaign; similar terms and pricing have been extended for the Solarize Montgomery initiative, with discounts for larger systems. Participants in the program will be contacted by one of these two installers, who will make a site visit to gather all the information necessary to prepare a proposal that is based on the Solarize Montgomery program pricing. Upon acceptance of the proposal, the solar installer will obtain all the necessary permits, order materials and equipment, and schedule the installation. Installation usually takes a few days.
The program will run through July 22. Homeowners or businesses interested in learning more about going solar or participating in the bulk purchase campaign may go to www.vasun.org/solarize-montgomery or contact Counts at (540) 505-4163. For ongoing updates on Solarize Montgomery, visit the program’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/SolarizeMontgomery.
About VA SUN
VA SUN is a citizens’ network of solar supporters in Virginia. It supports the growth of solar in the commonwealth through innovative community projects, neighborhood solar bulk purchase programs, and strong solar policies. Its belief is that all Virginians should have the right to produce their own homegrown energy.