Adding solar energy to a home or business is easier and cheaper when people band together. Forming a collective can bring down costs and make a project more attractive to installers. That’s the goal of Solarize Homer.
You can find information on the Homer, Kenai, Fairbanks and Anchorage Solarize projects at kenaichange.org. or at akcenter.org To sign up for Solarize Homer, contact organizer Satchel Pondolfino at [email protected]
The project is already underway on the Central Peninsula and in other parts of the state. Louis Flora is the Government Affairs Director at The Alaska Center. He's worked with the Solarize Anchorage project and wants to see a group come together in Homer. Flora says,
“It’s a model where you group a number of residences or business owners in a limited geographic area and you get people together, discussing whether or not they would like to collectively install solar panels on their buildings. And then you have a series of community meetings and there is an organizer to put the meetings together.”
That organizer is Satchel Pondolfino from Cook Inlet Keeper. Pondolfino says you can think of it as a big group discount.
“The solar installers are also incentivized to offer more discounts because they are competing against each other for this large project, rather than individual homes. It’s upwards of 30 people all asking for one installer to come do the work," said Pondolfino.
The clock is ticking on keeping costs down. There are tax rebates to be had now that won’t be available for much longer.
“Not only would you receive discounts participating in this program and doing it as a group, you also would get a federal tax rebate. It’s been decreasing each year. Last year it was 30%. This year it’s 26% and next year it will be 21%.In 2022, it will go down to 10% and it will only be available for businesses,” Pondolfino said.
Solarize Homer is looking for a minimum of 30 to 40 homes and business interested in solar installation. Pondolfino says the request for proposals, or RFP for the Lower Peninsula project goes out soon.
“In the Central Peninsula, they just sent out their RFP this week, to solar installers. So we’re a few weeks behind. We’re having our first public meeting at 6 p.m. at Kachemak Bay Campus. Two weeks from that we’ll be sending out our RFP.”
By Kathleen Gustafson
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