It was a good call to have this presentation in the High School Auditorium. Roughly 150 people came to hear, see and ask questions. With a brief nod to the history of how Durham became one of four CT towns chosen to pilot Solarize CT by Laura Francis, First Selectwoman and Susan Michael, CRHS Science Teacher, we heard from Bob Wall, Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA) and Toni Bouchard of SmartPower.
Then, the BeFree Solar owner was introduced. This company has been chosen in a bid process as the town's contractor on the project. He carefully laid out the program costs, technology, geographical requirements, advantages, savings, industry standards and feasibility.
Questions were fielded from the audience including real estate taxes, roof warrantees, battery back-up systems, historical appropriateness, power outages, weather and on and on.
This is in fact, all very realistic. Lynn Heddrick, a happy BeFree customer spoke about her shiney new system and several others were referenced in the presentation. Many "solar ambassadors" were available to talk to after the presentation. Here's the short take away on the whole thing:
1. The incentives and tax breaks are real, but there's a deadline - December 14th
2. The price for everyone goes down on a tiered basis as more people in Durham sign contracts.
3. This whole thing only makes "cents" for you once the BeFree guys come onto your property and determine exactly how well the sun shines on your house. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org and arrange for a visit.
If it turns out that the shady spot you call home can't sparkle in solar panelled efficiency, your hopes for energy use improvements are not to be dashed. Bob Wall, (CEFIA) maintains there are many other ways to be smarter in energy use.
Here's how I see it, you can keep paying and moaning about your CL&P bill or you can check this out for yourself.