Solarize Your Community

Intermediate

Inside this Article

A home in a solarized community.
A map showing locations of some solarized communities.
One of the earliest Solarize projects was launched in Portland, Oregon, in 2009 and resulted in more than 500 installations.
A solar home tour can help educate community members.
Yard signs identify what the “Joneses” are up to.
A group of community leaders, Solarize participants, and installers celebrate the Town of Freeport’s recognition as a Citizen Climate Champion for its Solarize Freeport program.
Solarize North Fork Valley participants Sarah and Bill Bishop are now the proud owners of a 6.24 kW PV system.
Insource Renewables and Assured Solar Energy were selected to collaborate for Solarize Freeport. Here, installers from the two companies meet up at the site of the program’s first installed system.
Empowered Energy Systems owner Brad Burritt was selected as a Solarize North Fork Valley installer. This effort enabled him to add three installer positions to his company.
Some lending institutions offer energy- and/or efficiency-specific loans with special interest rates and streamlined application processes.

A growing movement seeks to expand the use of solar electricity, one community at a time.

In 2014, researchers from Yale University and the University of Connecticut published a study on the factors that influenced Connecticut households to install solar-electric systems. The single biggest factor in deciding to go solar is whether a neighbor had done it.

The Solarize Movement

Solar energy has become infectious, partially a result of “keeping up with the Joneses,” but also because of the increased confidence from seeing neighbors choosing these systems. To capitalize on this phenomenon and make systems more affordable, communities are organizing Solarize campaigns. Organizations and municipalities in at least 19 states and the District of Columbia have launched community Solarize projects.

One of the first projects was launched in Oregon in 2009, when a group of Portland residents seeking to reduce their costs banded together for a volume discount. By organizing their collective buying power through the Southeast Uplift Neighborhood Coalition nonprofit and in coordination with the Energy Trust of Oregon, community members were able to reduce their PV system costs by about 30%.

That campaign initially attracted 300 residents to sign up for more information. By the end of the program, 130 homes had PV systems installed. Based upon the success in southeast Portland, other communities in the city followed suit. As a result of the various campaigns, 400 PV systems were installed in Portland in 2010.

Comments (3)

Richard Howe's picture

Learn about solarize projects in Texas, see www.solarizetexas.org

Emerson Head's picture

Find "The Solarize Guidebook" online. It's a free DOE pdf, published in January of 2011.

http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy12osti/5...

Michael Welch's picture
Thanks, Emerson. That link and another are part of this article. They've been added onto the end as Web Extras.
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