Press release from Solarize Asheville-Buncombe:
After just over a month since its launch, the Solarize Asheville-Buncombe campaign has already reached the lowest-cost tier for group-discount purchasing. The community-based group-purchasing solar campaign entered Tier 8, which represents the lowest price for solar energy under the program.
In addition, the campaign has awarded its first three contracts to local residents who qualified for the newly developed Neighbor to Neighbor Solar grant program to receive further financial support toward installing solar power at their homes.
“This is really commendable work,” Asheville Vice Mayor Sheneika Smith said during the campaign’s launch in April. “Equitable opportunities for more people to have access is exactly what movement-building is about. Whenever we center on people who are cost- and financially-burdened, that makes our movement go further and it makes the work faster.”
Following the campaign’s first contract on April 16, some 50 additional homeowners have completed contracts, constituting 450.15 in total kW of solar power. Once these systems are fully installed, the equivalent of 844,481 lbs of carbon emissions will have been avoided in Buncombe County.
Solarize Asheville-Buncombe seeks to make solar energy and battery storage more affordable for both residences and commercial buildings through a bulk-purchasing concept. The more participants, the more costs decline for every property owner who contracts for a system.
Contacts and visits with nearly 450 local property owners who requested a free evaluation are now underway. Under the Solarize concept, everyone who purchased a solar power installation in the first stage of the campaign receives the same discounts as the last participant — eight tiers in all.
The deadline to enroll for a contract is Aug. 31.
Neighbor to Neighbor: Affordability + Access
While Solarize Asheville-Buncombe campaign is open to all Asheville and Buncombe County property owners without restrictions, a method to further increase access for all — its Neighbor to Neighbor Solar program — was devised by the coalition of organizations and individuals that launched the overall campaign.
To initiate Neighbor to Neighbor Solar, the coalition secured $75,000 in funding to help lower costs for potential grant recipients. However, more funds are needed to help a greater number of families with their monthly energy burden, which can make up a major portion of any household budget.
To help make solar power accessible through Neighbor to Neighbor Solar, a crowd-funding drive has begun here. A single photovoltaic panel, for example, costs $650. Additional donation tiers — both smaller and larger — are available. All contributions are tax-deductible.
Financing Workshop Online May 26
When it comes to purchasing a solar system, most homeowners find that financing makes sense economically. To assist in clarifying how lending works, the Solarize Asheville-Buncombe coalition is organizing a special online workshop set for 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 26.
To register for the workshop, sign up for a free evaluation through Solarize Asheville-Buncombe and you will receive a link to the event. To learn more about income-qualifications for Neighbor to Neighbor Solar or to donate using the crowdfunding tool, visit www.solarizeabc.com. Descriptions of solar and battery storage pricing and equipment options, as well as details about valuable 2021 energy tax credits are all available at this website, too.