Solarize Asheville Reduces the Costs of solar to Asheville Homeowners
ASHEVILLE – Solarize Asheville, a ground-breaking solar project for city homeowners, will present an educational workshop called Solar 101 on August 29 from 6 – 7:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Asheville at 1 Edwin Place, Asheville, 28801.
“This workshop is the first step for anyone who lives in the city and has ever thought about going solar,” said Katie Bray, the non-profit project’s Program Director. “We have reduced the cost through a competitive-bidding process and taken out the guesswork that can otherwise paralyze the homeowner.”
This unique program, the first of its kind in the Southeast, serves as a support system for neighborhoods and neighbors who use the power of group purchasing to install solar panels. The program is open to every homeowner within the Asheville city limits. Enrollment begins on August 12th and ends on October 11th. Initial volunteer outreach efforts have focused in Kenilworth, Grove Park-Sunset Mountain, Five Points, and Norwood Park after a volunteer team from each of these neighborhoods put together a formal application.
The cost of installing solar exceeds the price of inverters, panels, racking, and labor. There are also the “soft” costs, those associated with customer acquisition, permitting fees, financing, interconnection, and inspection, which can account for 30-40% of the price of a residential system.
“These processes are necessary to safely regulate the electricity grid, but a lot can be done to reduce them,” said Bray, “and that’s what we’ve done for Asheville residents.”
Solarize Asheville chose Sundance Power Systems as the installer for this phase of the project.
“We accepted proposals from solar photovoltaic installers across the Southeast,” said Bray. “We asked for five-tiered pricing in which the savings will increase for everyone as more people sign up.”
Visit www.solarizeasheville.org for specific pricing. Better yet, come to Solar 101. The workshop will feature Sundance Power Systems, Wilson Rickerson of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE); and Patrick Murphy of Admirals Bank. The project is an initiative of the Blue Ridge Sustainability Institute.
Call Katie Bray for interview contacts with neighborhood volunteers, Asheville’s chief sustainability officer, DOE technical experts, and others associated or supporting the Solarize program.