All I can say is … WOW! No one expected over one hundred people to come to the Solarize SW Portland workshop we conducted on Earth Day eve, especially since the Portland Trailblazers were playing their first home playoff basketball game that very same night. The attendance for my introductory workshop equaled more than the total of the first three combined, and it was marvelous to see so much interest in residential solar and what we’re doing to bring down costs and streamline the process here in Portland. It certainly shows demand for clean energy and momentum for our program. I was amped!!
We added 31 new signups that same night which brings our total to over 400 (potential) so far. You know the old adage be careful what you wish for … because you just might get it? For those who haven’t read about this program … it is intended to help Portland residents lower their energy costs through solar power via an easier and more economical manner. This is accomplished by simplifying the process, providing information, reducing red tape, and achieving significant cost reductions using bulk purchasing from a single contractor.
Our RFP committee chose Mr. Sun Solar as the contractor and they’re already working the signup list to complete initial assessments by the end of May – early June. http://www.mrsunsolar.com/solarize_sw.php
Solarize Southwest was initiated by local neighborhood leaders like me who want to increase the amount of renewable energy generated by working together as a community. The project is structured so that the price of solar panel installation goes down for everybody as more neighbors join the effort. Group purchasing creates a 15-25 percent savings below current prices and this is significant. This group discount, in addition to current available tax credits and Energy Trust cash incentives, gives Solarize Southwest participants significant cost savings.
Truth is solar prices have never been cheaper.
Last week I rode along with Mr. Sun’s Heath Kearns just to see how it is going as they conduct the initial solar assessments. I’m excited to have an opportunity to reach out to my neighbors as they explore going solar and I’m happy to get the hands-on experience of using a Solar Pathfinder while conducting Total Solar Resource Fraction (TSRF) evaluations. It is a real challenge in an area where trees are king. A Mr. Sun Solar project contractor will perform a solar assessment at each signee’s home to determine the correct size and design of the solar electric system. Installations will take place between June and October 2010.
“We are seeing a lot of interest and support for Solarize Southwest,” said Leonard Gard, Program Manager of the Southwest Neighborhoods, Inc. “Our volunteers are working hard on this project so all our residents are educated about this great opportunity to go solar.”
Our next topic-related workshops will be held at the Multnomah Arts Center in Multnomah Village and they will include:
- Tax credits, Incentives and Financing (April 29 and June 7)
- Technical Nuts and Bolts of Going Solar (May 3 and June 3)
- Net Metering (spinning the meter backwards) (May 6)
Portland Mayor Sam Adams said, “Portland is becoming a real player in the solar industry, with major manufacturers and installers recognizing our region’s talent and commitment to sustainability. Portlanders are helping fuel that industry, as prices come down and interest goes up. Increasing the demand for solar electric panel installations benefits our community by creating new jobs too.”
I’m all for win-win, aren’t you?
Wanna know more? Check out our website at http://www.solarizesouthwestportland.org/