Solarize U Announced

UConn, Yale and Eastern Take the Challenge to Promote Solar Among Faculty and Staff

Rocky Hill, CT —The Clean Energy and Finance and Investment Authority, and its partners SmartPower and the John Merck Fund, today announced an innovative campus-based campaign designed to dramatically increase the amount of residential solar in Connecticut: Solarize U.

Solarize U will utilize the key components of the groundbreaking Solarize Connecticut campaign while bringing residential solar directly to a likely group of solar adopters – employees of Connecticut’s colleges and universities.

The University of Connecticut, Yale University and Eastern Connecticut State University have indicated that they intend to bring Solarize U to their institutions. Other Connecticut Colleges and Universities have until May 31, 2014 to join Solarize U. A total of six institutions will be included in the pilot phase of the program.

Solarize is a proven “group purchasing” model that includes significant group discounts, pre-selected installers, community outreach and a clear end date to encourage residents to install solar on their homes. Solarize has now been adopted in over 40 Connecticut communities and has typically resulted in doubling the number of systems and the installed capacity over a 20-week period as compared to the previous decade. The program model is able to provide significant discounts off the cost of a typical solar installation by reducing costs typically borne by installers to acquire customers. The program partners seek to extend the concept beyond the traditional footprint of a municipality to affinity partner networks and large employers with sustainability practices.

“CEFIA is extremely proud of our partnership with SmartPower and the John Merck Fund to advance residential solar and drive down pricing through the Solarize Connecticut program,” said Catherine Smith, Chair of CEFIA.  “In addition, our easy to use financing loans and leasing products make solar even more affordable and accessible for everyone. We expect that we will achieve similar success as we bring the Solarize U program to college faculty and staff.”

“Connecticut’s colleges and universities have been among the nation’s leaders in their commitment to the environment, said Mun Y. Choi, Ph.D., Provost & Executive VP for Academic Affairs at the University of Connecticut. “Through the strength of sustainability programs such as ‘Solarize U’, water conservation and community outreach, UConn has been selected as #1 university in the 2013 Sierra Club rankings. We want to inspire CT institutions to join the University of Connecticut in the “Solarize U” program. Together, we can expand our collective vision of greener communities to benefit the citizens of Connecticut.”

“Yale University is excited to partner with CEFIA to support our staff and faculty in their efforts to make their homes more sustainable through the Solarize U program,” said Yale President Peter Salovey.  “Beginning with our 2005 commitment to significantly reduce campus greenhouse gas emissions, Yale has taken a leadership role among institutions of higher education in addressing campus sustainability.  With the Solarize U program, we can further encourage members of our community to do their part for the environment by taking action at home, and also save money on their energy bills.”

“At Eastern, our commitment to sustainability extends from high performance buildings to academic offerings in sustainable energy studies to the practical application of smart energy solutions in Connecticut’s communities and schools. Solarize U will broaden our impact by encouraging our employees to take sustainability home,” said Elsa Nunez, President of Eastern Connecticut State University. “We are pleased to partner with CEFIA and SmartPower on this initiative.”

CEFIA and SmartPower will work with participating institutions to design the final program plan including launch and end dates, selection of installers, marketing and outreach plans, special financing offers, and other matters. In the spirit of competition, there will be a challenge for the participating institutions in Solarize U that will result in a reward to the winning campus – a solar powered electric vehicle recharging station. “We look forward to working with CEFIA and SmartPower to bring Solarize U to Connecticut’s colleges and universities,” states Judy Greiman, President of the Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges. “Our institutions of higher learning are actively engaged in advancing sustainability on campus, and the competition will add a note of fun to these efforts.”

Solarize U is expected to kick off this fall. Colleges and universities interested in joining the Solarize U Challenge should contact Bob.Wall@ctcleanenergy.com.

About the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority
CEFIA was established by Connecticut’s General Assembly on July 1, 2011 as a part of Public Act 11-80. This new quasi-public agency supersedes the former Connecticut Clean Energy Fund. CEFIA’s mission is to support the Governor’s and the Legislature’s energy strategy to provide cheaper, cleaner and more reliable sources of energy while creating jobs and supporting local economic development. As the nation’s first full-scale green bank, CEFIA leverages public and private funds to drive investment and scale-up clean energy deployment in Connecticut. For more information about CEFIA, please visit www.ctcleanenergy.com.

About The John Merck Fund
Based in Boston, Massachusetts, The John Merck Fund was established in 1970 by the late Serena Merck and is now in its third generation of family leadership. Starting in 2012, The John Merck Fund will spend all of its assets over the next ten years to spur progress in clean energy, environmental health, development of a New England regional food system, and treatment of developmental disabilities. For more information, please visit www.jmfund.org.

About SmartPower
SmartPower is a non-profit organization that creates community campaigns for energy efficiency and clean energy by engaging local partners from the municipal, business, private and non-profit sectors to promote behavior change and measurable energy actions. SmartPower is leading the New England Solar Challenge effort, which is intended to accelerate the adoption of Solar PV throughout the region.  For more information, please visit www.smartpower.org.

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