The Connecticut Clean Energy Finance & Investment Authority (CEFIA) announced the selection of Westport as one of four towns to participate in phase one of Solarize Connecticut, a pilot program that encourages adoption of residential solar photovoltaic (PV) projects, according to a news release from David Mann, chair of the Westport Green Task Force
The program is based on the success of last year’s Solarize Massachusetts Pilot, which took place during the summer of 2011.
"Solarize Connecticut is a game changer. With the benefits of aggregate pricing Westport can continue to lead the way as a green community" Mann said. "Westport has several prominent PV installations and many Westporters are intrigued by solar and want it on their homes, but for some, upfront costs have made that a challenge."
He added that, this can reduce or eliminate these upfront costs depending on whether residents elect to purchase or lease a system. The Task Force and CEFIA will now fine-tune program details over the next few weeks and will begin promoting it in August and continue through mid December.
Applications for Solarize Connecticut were evaluated competitively in a process open to all Connecticut municipalities which have either been designated as "Clean Energy Communities" or have taken the "Municipal Clean Energy Pledge". The selected communities demonstrated a clear commitment to increase education and outreach on solar panels through community groups and resident volunteers, as well as a willingness to streamline their permitting processes.
One of the ways Westport has demonstrated its commitment to energy efficiency and renewable energy is through the Westport Home Energy Challenge. Through the Challenge, Westport has engaged over 800 households and built partnerships with 19 Westport-based community groups and nonprofits. The town and these partner organizations have held educational workshops and tours of innovative high-performance homes to educate residents about existing State programs and rebates.
“Westport is extremely excited to be chosen as one of the pilot communities,” said Westport First Selectman Gordon Joseloff. “We have long prided ourselves on being at the forefront of environmentally friendly initiatives. This is exactly the kind of program that will help us expand solar in our community and offer an excellent investment opportunity for our residents.”
"Westport leads the way in Connecticut for households taking a first step by having a Home Energy Solutions (HES) assessment" said Shannon McAvoy, a Westport resident and a Clean Water Action community organizer with the Challenge.
HES visit is the first step in making a home ready for solar. She said that "some residents have gone to the next level and upgraded their insulation or installed energy efficient appliances." By making homes more energy efficient, residents reduce solar installation costs dramatically by requiring smaller systems to meet their demand.
Each of the selected communities will focus on localized marketing and installation of solar PV, which in turn will help to drive down the cost. With the selection of Westport into the pilot program, residents can look forward to more open houses, fun and educational solar events, and community outreach through partner organizations such as , , and .
Would you like to see if your home is ready for solar, or volunteer to help your neighbors with Solarize CT? Contact Pippa Bell Ader of the Westport Home Energy Challenge at (203) 293-6320 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about CEFIA visit www.CTCleanEnergy.com.
About the Westport Home Energy Challenge (WHEC): WHEC is a community energy savings program designed to promote energy efficiency and help Westport residents save on bills by reducing energy consumption by 20%. To date,845 Westport households have joined the challenge.
WHEC is part of the Connecticut Neighbor to Neighbor Energy Challenge, a friendly competition over three years among 14 towns. The program is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, and is funded as part of the Better Buildings Neighborhoods Program. The grant aims to create a self-sustaining building energy upgrade market.
The program is administered by the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund and draws resources and experience from several partner organizations, including Earth Markets, Clean Water Fund, the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund, EMpower Devices, MIT, SmartPower, Snugg Home, Mobile Genius and the Student Conservation Association. For more information, visit www.ctenergychallenge.com.