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Durham Selected as Pilot Town for Solar Program

Program will allow residents to purchase or lease solar equipment at discounted prices.

 

Durham has been chosen as one of four towns to participate in Solarize Connecticut, a pilot program designed to encourage residents to purchase or lease solar panels.

The program was launched earlier this year by the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA), with assistance from The John Merck Fund and SmartPower, and offers discounted prices on solar power.

“It’s gratifying and exciting to be selected to participate in the pilot effort and to see how well we can advance solar technology in Durham and the State of Connecticut," First Selectman Laura Francis said. "We are ready."

Fairfield, Portland, and Westport were also selected for the first phase of the program based on an ability to execute an effective outreach and community based campaign.

The initial pilot phase will run from mid-July through the end of 2012. The best practices and lessons learned from these four towns will then be applied to a second opt-in phase of the Connecticut pilot in early 2013. 

Similarly modeled programs in Oregon and Massachusetts have successfully delivered a lower cost to consumers.

“This program builds on our efforts to drive down costs in the residential PV market here in Connecticut," said Bryan Garcia, president and CEO of CEFIA.

CEFIA was established by Connecticut’s General Assembly on July 1, 2011 as a part of Public Act 11-80. This new quasi-public agency supersedes the former Connecticut Clean Energy Fund.

For additional information please visit www.ctcleanenergy.com/solarizect.

Pat O'Connor July 13, 2012 at 01:59 AM
Not really clear from the link - where do you inquire about price, etc?
Michael Hayes (Editor) July 13, 2012 at 02:11 AM
Hi Pat Good question. I believe today's news is the first step in the process of getting residents interested and involved with solar. I suspect the town will be releasing further details very shortly to encourage interest. Patch will certainly publish the material so residents know where to look.
Lucy Petrella July 13, 2012 at 11:39 AM
I'd love to install solar. However, I believe Middlefield never applied and is not part of this, so I can't take advantage of it! Too bad for Middlefield.
ted July 13, 2012 at 06:17 PM
I had solar installed recently and i love it. good for durham on its path to getting more people to go solar. A very close (north madison) company installed mine, befreesolar.com is their web site. Excellent work.
Susan Michael July 14, 2012 at 03:37 AM
The Durham Clean Energy and Sustainability Task Force will be working together with other members of the community to put together some information sessions in different venues around town over the next few months. The members of the community who are interested in obtaining solar voltaic installations will pool together as a group and go to bid as one unit. The larger the group the better the price basically. If you are interested you can contact First Selectman Laura Francis or members of the CE&STF (which includes me). : )
Susan Michael July 14, 2012 at 03:40 AM
I would recommend you come to the information sessions. Our CE&STF includes members of Middlefield and Durham. You may not be eligible now but Middlefield could get set up for round two of the pilot program!
John B July 15, 2012 at 02:46 PM
I would consider solar panels, but once I put them on my house , the town will decide my house is worth more and up go my already high property taxes. We should stop the town from assessing our houses based on solar panels, otherwise what little savings will be completely wiped out
edmund dantes August 27, 2012 at 01:30 AM
You would be foolish to participate. Adding solar will increase the value of your home, and your property taxes will go up accordingly. You'll pay far more in property taxes than you will ever save on utility bills. Only millionaires should even consider doing something like this.
Susan Michael August 27, 2012 at 02:14 AM
There will be a Solarize Durham Kickoff Meeting at Coginchaug Regional High School on Wednesday, September 5th at 7:00 PM in the auditorium. The program will be explained clearly including the pricing tiers. I hope you can make it!
Susan Michael August 27, 2012 at 02:25 AM
Mr. Dantes comment saddens me. True putting solar panels on your home will have many positive impacts, thus resulting in an increase in the value of your home. It also helps provide clean energy thus decreasing air pollution in our state. It helps decrease demands for fossil fuels, thus reducing the need for mining and drilling and other negative impacts on the environment. The Solarize Durham project has the potential to make solar PV installations very affordable, decreasing the payback time on the projects. And with electricity costs being high the payback time becomes shorter. Also, recent advances in battery storage systems can help make homes energy independent should power go out, IF a resident chooses to invest in them. Personally, I find the positives outweigh the negatives. Plus, there could be some government subsidies that might help counterbalance the increases in property taxes (which won't increase until the next assessment right?).
JustinEth August 27, 2012 at 03:22 AM
You tell 'em Mrs. Michael. An increase in property taxes is but a small price to pay if it means becoming a more responsible citizen of our planet. After all, this planet was not given to us by our parents, it was lent to us by our children.
Laura Francis August 27, 2012 at 03:22 PM
There have been no increases on residential assessments due to a solar installation in Durham. We will have a complete explanation of residential tax assessment policy relative to solar installations at the September 5th meeting.
edmund dantes August 27, 2012 at 06:09 PM
Property taxes are supposed to be assessed upon fair market value. If a solar installation increases the value of the home, the property taxes must go up. Keep in mind that Durham has by far the highest mill rate in the state for cities of its size. Laura Francis appears to suggest that the town plans ignore solar installations in its valuations. How would that be possible? What would be the legal authority for it? Is this another situation of government picking winners and losers?

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