NC WARN has launched a highly successful program that expands solar power on homes and businesses, cuts greenhouse gases, adds local jobs and helps avoid more rate increases for all customers. The program expands to Chatham County this Sunday, June 1, after a successful pilot project in Durham, and will gradually expand around the state.
NC WARN said Solarize Chatham will help customers generate most of their own electricity and use any excess power to offset purchases from their utility. They said the Solarize model has proven highly successful in dozens of U.S. communities since 2009, and is endorsed by the U.S. Department of Energy and the NC Solar Center. It will use high-quality equipment installed by two local installers, Yes! Solar Solutions of Cary and Southern Energy Management of Morrisville.
Through bulk purchasing and neighbor-to-neighbor marketing, Solarize programs cut up to 32% from solar prices that have already fallen by 80% in recent years. NC WARN says power bill savings start the day the system is installed, locking in low-cost clean energy for 25 years or more.
“We’ve already generated a big preliminary response,” said Rita Leadem of NC WARN today. “Even before launching the program, our organizers have begun working with community leaders in Chatham. It’s clear that many people have been ready to ‘go solar’ … and the time is now.”
She said the program will also pioneer a way to share solar power with low-income homeowners. Additionally, if the goal of 75 solar rooftops is met, Solarize Chatham will donate solar panels to a Chatham nonprofit to be chosen by those participating in the program.
Yes! Solar Solutions vice president Kathy Miller said today, “We are honored to be a partner in the Solarize Chatham program. Our mission intersects with NC WARN in our goal to make solar accessible to as many homeowners as possible. The Solarize model has proven to increase solar awareness in communities both before and after the program for all installers, and we expect to see that in this market as well.”
Federal and state tax credits, and the Duke Energy-Progress SunSense rebate, create a quick payback for rooftop solar energy. In addition, Solarize Chatham prices drop as more customers participate. An average-sized home might use a 4-kilowatt system that would cost $5,266 (after tax credits and the SunSense rebate) even if participation is low. Assuming the 75-rooftop goal is met, that system would have a net cost of only $4,565.
A total of 380 households signed up to explore solar power during NC WARN’s Solarize Durham program from January to April of this year. So far, 112 kW of solar power have been installed on Durham rooftops as a result of the program.
NC WARN says Solarize Chatham helps all customers by undercutting Duke Energy’s case for continually raising rates to build giant power plants. And Solarize programs have consistently helped build the entire local solar industry, creating good jobs, reducing utility bills and replacing climate-wrecking coal and fracking gas.
Jim Warren of NC WARN said today, “While Duke Energy pretends to support solar – but is actually trying to gut the industry – Solarize Chatham will help counter Duke’s plans to keep raising rates to build unneeded power plants.”
He said NC WARN will soon expand Solarize to other areas of the state with the help of members and partners. “This will help the state economy by putting people to work and stemming the seemingly endless rise in electricity rates under Duke Energy and subsidiary Progress Energy,” Warren added.