Summit Community Solar (SCS) did exactly that for residents of Summit County and Park City, Utah, via a year-long project in 2013. Created to increase the adoption of residential photovoltaic power, the project streamlined the process of installing a photovoltaic system and provided financial incentives to homeowners who participated.
The SCS project’s first step was community outreach. It offered free informational workshops so that residents could learn about the benefits of photovoltaic power and the technology behind it.
Interested community members completed an online questionnaire to determine their property’s suitability for photovoltaic panels. The contractor for the program conducted on-site reviews of each property and submitted bids to homeowners. Those who accepted paid a $500 deposit, and panel installation was scheduled.
This kind of bulk purchasing keeps expenses down for homeowners.
Using this business model, the more participants join, the less the system costs to install. This gives homeowners enrolled in the program extra incentive to get their neighbors involved, so everyone can save even more money.
Word-of-mouth and neighborhood advocacy played a big part in engaging the Summit County and Park City residents.
Solar power is a priority for the local government, and the city and county worked with Utah Clean Energy (UCE) to develop the SCS program.
UCE, with their previous success at enacting a similar project in Salt Lake County, was instrumental in supporting SCS and in managing the project to shorten the timeline.
The local government provided information about solar power installations, and helped to simplify the process for homeowners through a standardization process developed by the Solar America Board for Codes and Standards.
Finally, solar permitting fees were reduced or waived to provide a further incentive to participate.
Out of the 280 Summit County and Park City residents who filled out questionnaires, 60 signed contracts and had solar power systems installed.
Thanks to the community model and bulk purchasing, these homeowners were able to save roughly $1,000 each on their systems. SCS participants also were eligible for the state and federal solar tax credits, saving them thousands more.
Over the next 25 years, these homeowners are expected to save a total of $1.37 million in electricity bills.
The SCS program also greatly expanded the use of solar power in Summit County and Park City. In fact, the number of kilowatts of power generated by photovoltaic panels in the community increased by 500 percent from 2012 to 2013, as a result of the project.
Community solar programs are one way to make photovoltaic energy more accessible, but you don’t have to persuade all of your neighbors to take advantage of bulk purchasing discounts. Intermountain Wind and Solar offers a unique bulk purchasing program for our customers, designed much like the SCS project’s money-saving concepts, called Intermountain Community Solar Initiative.
Contact us today and let us explain this unique program to you, and show you how you can save significantly on your own solar power installation.
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