GODFREY — Solarize Godfrey continues to generate energy and buzz in the community.
Two homeowners already have signed contracts to go solar through the program sponsored by the Godfrey Climate Protection and Energy Efficiency Committee. With new site assessments being conducted every week, that number will continue to grow. The program has provided free informational sessions to 60 Godfrey residents and business owners as well as 18 free solar site assessments. Program milestones set at 25, 50 and 75 kilowatts of installed solar will further drive down the bulk purchase costs. The average-size home solar electric system in Illinois is 5 to 7 kilowatts, so the first milestone is approaching fast. With each milestone, program participants will receive an additional 1 percent rebate on top of the bulk purchase price, up to 3 percent at the 75-kilowatt mark.
The committee is offering a slate of free informational sessions for residents and business owners to learn about solar technology, the “community bulk buy” discount, and state and federal incentives available to make the financial case for going solar.
The next sessions are scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, June 16, at Rolling Hills Golf Club, 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 28, at La Vista Ecological Learning Center, and 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 13, at Godfrey Village Hall.
While the financial case for going solar is substantial, installing solar panels is also good for the environment and energy independence, Committee Chair Nate Keener said.
“While state and federal incentives for residents can pay for up to 70 percent of the cost of going solar, the incentives for small businesses may cover over 100 percent of the price,” Keener said. “Just as important though, going solar means you’re taking positive steps to help the environment. Sunbeams are the cleanest form of energy we have, and installing solar electricity systems means you are mitigating climate change by saving many metric tons of (carbon dioxide) from entering the atmosphere. You’re also taking a stand by claiming a measure of energy independence from the utility companies.”
In a community bulk solar program, residents form a group to learn about and eventually purchase solar energy generating systems for their homes or businesses. By joining together, they can use their collective purchasing power to save on costs. Federal and state incentives available to homeowners and businesses make potential deals even better. Participants in the information sessions will receive a free site assessment to determine if a solar system is right for them.
Brent Ritzel, StraightUp Solar’s lead project developer in Godfrey, provides technical site assessments and custom solar proposals for Solarize Godfrey. He has enjoyed every minute of meeting with local home and business owners to discuss solar options.
“The solar site assessment generally lasts about 1 hour, then the owner and I sit down to discuss the findings,” Ritzel said. “Their input is essential to the creation of a custom solar energy proposal.”
There is no single reason why one might choose to make the switch to solar.
“Of the on-site solar assessments I’ve conducted in Godfrey so far, folks are just so informed, so engaged, and they really understand the environmental and economic impacts of going solar,” Ritzel said. “The early success of the Solarize Godfrey program is truly a result of the engagement of the community as a whole.”
The program is a partnership of the Godfrey Climate Protection and Energy Efficiency Committee, Straight Up Solar and the Sierra Club. It receives promotional support from the RiverBend Growth Association and Lewis and Clark Community College.
The Godfrey Climate Protection and Energy Efficiency Committee’s mission is to engage diverse village stakeholders with the goals of improving energy efficiency in municipal operations, protecting the environment and natural systems, and, as a consequence, enhancing quality of life in the village. The committee will also educate the public about energy efficiency and climate change while championing this process.
StraightUp Solar is a solar energy integration company. Its mission is to “empower communities to create a sustainable future through lasting partnerships that provide the region’s premier solar integrations and customer service at a competitive price. (They) are passionately committed to bringing solar energy to the masses by designing and installing affordable solar solutions for residential and commercial customers.”
The village of Godfrey does not endorse or sponsor StraightUp Solar LLC., and the decision whether or not to contract with StraightUp Solar for installation services is strictly the decision of the resident or business owner within the village of Godfrey. The village has not and does not endorse any solar energy program within the village. The village supports all efforts to provide green energy initiatives within the community; however, it is responsibility of the resident or business contracting with a particular vendor of green energy products and services to complete the necessary due diligence and legal contractual protections deemed necessary by each resident or business.