Solarize Upper Valley Closes Round Two, Opens Round Three
By Allison E. Rogers Furbish
As of its January 31 deadline, the second round of the Solarize Upper Valley initiative saw 181 contracts signed for new solar photovoltaic (PV) projects – a total of more than 1,086.535 kilowatts of new solar power – across 10 towns in the Upper Valley.
All of the Solarize communities – Hanover, Orford, and Andover-New London-Wilmot, in New Hampshire, and Pomfret-Woodstock and Randolph-Brookfield-Braintree in Vermont – at least doubled the amount of solar PV in their towns, and most saw enough kilowatts contracted to reach the lowest pricing level for residents.
“We’re thrilled with the success of our second round of Solarize Upper Valley, and we applaud the hard-working community volunteers and installer partners whose efforts encouraged so many residents to go solar this year,” said Sarah Simonds, energy program manager at Vital Communities, the White River Junction-based nonprofit that coordinates the initiative. “And while 181 signed contracts, a total of more than 800 residents signed up for solar site visits. That’s a lot of people in the Upper Valley thinking and talking about solar.”
This round of Solarize Upper Valley launched last October with a host of public outreach efforts continuing through the January 31 deadline. The first round of the initiative, which ran from March through June 2014, resulted in 120 homeowners signing contracts to go solar in Cornish, Plainfield, and Lyme, New Hampshire, and Thetford and Strafford, Vermont.
Solarize Upper Valley is a program of Vital Communities aimed at making small-scale solar energy more accessible across the region. The program teams up local volunteers with solar PV installers for a 15-week community outreach campaign to help residents go solar by making it easy for homeowners to take the first step – requesting a free site visit. Through a tiered pricing structure, the cost goes down for everyone as more people sign contracts to go solar with the community’s partner installer. And the deadline serves as an incentive for people to act before the deal is gone.
Get Involved in Round Three
Vital Communities will coordinate a third round of the Solarize effort this year, with public launch events in June and a deadline of September 30. Upper Valley communities interested in learning more are encouraged to attend an information session on February 19 at 5:30 p.m. at the Montshire Museum of Science. Proposals from communities wishing to participate are due by March 16. For more information about Solarize Upper Valley and how to get involved, visit VitalCommunities.org/Solarize.