Ivoryton Farm Market

CT State Rep Phil Miller, Bob & Tyson

Special thanks to State Rep Phil Miller for stopping by the Solarize table at Ivoryton Farm Market, joining Tyson Buerkle from Sunlight solar and Bob Laundy of the Essex Energy Task Force.

Live Installation Event by C-TEC Solar

120 Households Go Solar through Solarize Upper Valley

Spring Program a Sunny Success; Recruiting for Fall Program Begins

July 10, 2014 – White River Junction, Vt. – One hundred twenty homeowners across the Upper Valley are going solar this season thanks to Solarize Upper Valley, an initiative led by Vital Communities to increase the rate of solar adoption in the region. These homeowners in Thetford and Strafford, Vt., and Cornish, Plainfield, and Lyme, N.H., are adding 638 new kilowatts of renewable energy capacity to the region – resulting in a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to taking 116 cars off the road. While the population of these five towns may be small, with only 9,406 residents combined, together they convinced 11 percent of households to get a solar site visit and three percent of households to go solar in just 15 weeks.

“The results of the first round of Solarize Upper Valley surpassed our expectations – not only in the number of households going solar, but also in the commitment of the community volunteers who made the program a success,” said Vital Communities Energy Program Manager Sarah Simonds. “We’re now recruiting communities to participate in new Solarize campaigns for the fall and are excited to help them achieve similar results.”

Solarize Upper Valley teams up community volunteers with competitively selected solar photovoltaic (PV) installers for 15 weeks of outreach around small-scale solar energy, offering competitive prices, accessible resources, and a simplified process for solar PV installations. “I know solar would have remained a ‘someday’ for us without all the work provided by [Solarize Upper Valley],” said one Solarize Cornish-Plainfield customer. “You made it possible for our someday to be today.”

Vital Communities is currently recruiting for the fall round of the Solarize Upper Valley program. Interested communities can find more information at vitalcommunities.org/solarize. The deadline to apply is July 21.

With support from the John Merck Fund and an individual donor to Vital Communities, Solarize Upper Valley is part of a larger network of Solarize programs aimed at catalyzing a very public and lasting wave of new residential solar installations across New England and beyond. Solarize programs have been successful in Massachusetts and Connecticut and are now taking root in other parts of the country.

“The exciting results from Vital Communities’ Solarize campaign continue to prove that the ‘Solarize’ community model is perhaps the most effective approach for expanding residential solar,” said Brian F. Keane, president of SmartPower, a leading partner in the broader effort to expand and share the Solarize model. “This model works – whether in Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, or anywhere across the nation.”

Vital Communities, a nonprofit organization based in White River Junction, Vt., brings together citizens, organizations, and municipalities to take on issues where an independent voice and regional approach are essential. Working together, we make our region a better place to live, work, and play. Learn more at vitalcommunities.org.

Solarize Upper Valley Proves Effectiveness of Residential Solar Campaign in Rural New England

Vermont and New Hampshire Program a Sunny Success with 120 New Solar Homeowners

July 10, 2014 – White River Junction, Vt. – One hundred twenty homeowners across the rural Upper Valley region of Vermont and New Hampshire are going solar this season thanks to Solarize Upper Valley, an initiative led by local nonprofit organization Vital Communities to increase the rate of residential solar adoption in the Upper Valley. These results help prove the effectiveness of the Solarize model, which has been successfully deployed in Massachusetts and Connecticut in recent years.

Homeowners in Thetford and Strafford, Vt., and Cornish, Plainfield, and Lyme, N.H., are adding 638 new kilowatts of renewable energy capacity to the region – resulting in a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to taking 116 cars off the road. These five towns may be small, with only 9,406 residents combined, but together they convinced 11 percent of households to get a solar site visit and three percent of households to go solar in just 15 weeks.

“The exciting results from Vital Communities’ Solarize campaign continue to prove that the ‘Solarize’ community model is perhaps the most effective approach for expanding residential solar,” said Brian F. Keane, president of SmartPower, a leading organization in the broader effort to expand and share the Solarize model in New England and beyond. “This model works – whether in Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, or anywhere across the nation.”

With generous funding support from the John Merck Fund and an individual donor to Vital Communities, Solarize Upper Valley teams up community volunteers with competitively selected solar photovoltaic (PV) installers for 15 weeks of outreach around small-scale solar energy, offering competitive prices, accessible resources, and a simplified process for solar PV installations. “I know solar would have remained a ‘someday’ for us without all the work provided by [Solarize Upper Valley],” said one Solarize Cornish-Plainfield customer. “You made it possible for our someday to be today.”

“The results of the first round of Solarize Upper Valley surpassed our expectations – not only in the number of households going solar, but also in the commitment of the community volunteers who made the program a success,” said Vital Communities Energy Program Manager Sarah Simonds. “We’re now recruiting communities to participate in new Solarize campaigns for the fall and are excited to help them achieve similar results.”

Vital Communities, a nonprofit organization based in White River Junction, Vt., brings together citizens, organizations, and municipalities to take on issues where an independent voice and regional approach are essential. Working together, we make our region a better place to live, work, and play. Learn more at vitalcommunities.org.

Moving Forward while Turning Backward

Otto Walter answers questions Montville Solarize workshop

Otto Walter answers questions Montville Solarize workshop

“In December 2013, my wife and I commissioned a 9.8 kW solar photovoltaic system at our home in Montville.  In the 6 months since we began harvesting the sun, our system has generated over 5000 kWhr of energy!  To put this in context, this is enough energy to power a microwave for 3300 hours!  Additionally, our solar system has offset over 7,500 pounds of carbon emissions.  And to think this is just the first 6 months!

“We had two primary objectives when we decided to evaluate if solar was right for us.  First, we wanted to reduce our impact to the environment.  Secondly, we wanted to save money.  Our system satisfies both of these.  In the short term, our system costs are similar to rates from our electrical provider.  But, over the life of the system, we will save tens of thousands of dollars!

“I’ve had the privilege to answer questions at the Solarize Montville workshops.  Just like you, my wife and I evaluated finance and lease options, reviewed multiple technologies, and considered the advantages and disadvantages of a solar system.  In the end, we selected a roof-mounted system with centralized inverters (converts energy between the solar panels and the electrical grid) and a 20 year lease.  Having been through the process, I am excited to see the options and technologies offered by RGS Energy.  Their educational resources and public involvement will certainly make the “solarizing” process an efficient and rewarding one.

“For us, the right decision was to move forward with solar energy.  Now, we have the satisfaction of seeing our meter turn backward!  As the sun continues to shine (and power rates continue to rise) we look forward to a stable, affordable, dependable, and renewable source of power.”

Otto Walter and Jenn Cox
Montville