Solarize Salisbury-Rowan to Save Residents Money
An innovative program to help individuals and businesses save on electricity costs available to residents of Salisbury, Rowan County and the surrounding area until December 2014.
Solarize Salisbury-Rowan was a community initiative designed to inform residents of the advantages of solar power for their homes and businesses and to reduce costs through competitive bids by pre-approved installers , thereby streamlining the process. It was a partnership between SmartPower, a national non-profit organization focusing on clean energy, and the Center for the Environment at Catawba College.
Expectations of success were high for Solarize Salisbury-Rowan since North Carolina boasted a 35 percent state tax incentive in addition to the 30 percent federal tax credit at the time– making solar a smart investment and a proven way to lower energy bills. However, the tax incentives expired soon after so officials counseled residents who were interested in installing a solar power system to act soon.
Over the next 25 years an average resident can be expected to pay about $36,000 in electricity bills. With solar costing only around $9,000, this investment would save a homeowner about $25,000 on electricity bills during that period. A no-money down loan affords residents and business owners the opportunity to purchase solar with no upfront costs, but will still save thousands of dollars over the lifetime of the solar energy system.
When customers went on the Solarize Salisbury-Rowan website, they were linked to an on-line “solar marketplace” that had pre-screened and qualified local installers to participate in the program. By visiting the site they learned how much their home or businesses will save by going solar. From there, they could decide if they wanted quotes from participating North Carolina installers. When they were satisfied with the quote, they may have asked installers to make on-site assessments, which would provide a more precise solar system recommendation.
“If you’ve ever thought about looking into solar power, this is the time to do it,” says Brian F. Keane, President of SmartPower, the non-profit organization that ran Solarize Salisbury-Rowan. “Through our award-winning, on-the-ground outreach, combined with our on-line ‘solar marketplace,’ we think Solarize Salisbury-Rowan will break new records and become a new leader in residential solar adoption.”
Dr. John Wear, Center for the Environment executive director, notes that the campaign provided numerous benefits to the community and its residents. “We’re creating a solar community market for area citizens and business owners, much like a farmers’ market,” he says. “It’s a community service that will save people money and help reduce our dependence on fossil fuels at the same time.”