Aug 18, 2014 Ashley Wolf Uncategorized
Recently, seven local organizations partnered together to create a grassroots solar power initiative called “Solarize Syracuse”. Its mission is to provide residences in the greater Syracuse area with solar power, saving both money and the planet.
Solarize Syracuse is a coalition of local nonprofit organizations — Alliance for a Green Economy, Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board, Frack Action, Greening USA, New York Interfaith Power and Light, Peace Action CNY and Syracuse Peace Council — and community members who have come together to increase the amount of solar energy in the city of Syracuse and surrounding towns. The main goal of Solarize Syracuse is to help people overcome the usual obstacles to solar which include the cost, the perceived cost and the complexity of the process.
To reduce the use of fossil fuels and nuclear power in Onondaga County, Solarize Syracuse encourages the region to use clean, sustainable energy via solar power. The initiative offers bulk discounts and streamlining in order to make the process of installing solar panels easier. People can sign up for the program until Sept. 30, when the bulk discounts will end. The best concept about buying bulk is that it takes away from the challenge of a resident trying to change to solar by themselves. Instead, many people are joining together to change to solar, Jessica Azulay, Alliance for a Green Economy program director, said.
“We’re offering people this opportunity to take collective action,” Azulay said. “Taking individual action can feel very daunting. It can often feel like there’s nothing you as an individual can do to make a dent in [the environment]. This program really helps people take an action in the community and know that by taking this action, other people are going to be inspired by it and go solar as well. You’re bringing down the cost together.
The idea of Solarize Syracuse started on Oct. 21, 2013 when the movie, “Empowered”, was shown at the FilmColumbia Festival in Chatham, New York, Syracuse Resident Andrea Leimanis said.
“[The movie was about] Tompkins County and what people are doing to take control of their power generation by going more towards renewable energy and efficient energy,” Leimanis said. “That was really inspiring. That was the seed of the idea; we wanted to know what we could do to bring solar energy to Syracuse.”
Interested residents can go to one of the nine free community workshops to sign up for the program. The workshops will inform people how solar energy can improve indoor air quality and how it is healthier for the environment. The workshops will also explain the advantages of state and federal tax credits, subsidies and low-interest financing available for reducing energy use and electricity production. These workshops are not necessary in order to sign up for the program, though they are recommended. Applications are also available online.
After the workshop or the submission of the online application, free site assessments can determine if solar energy is best for a property. Solarize Syracuse looked at possible installation companies and based on cost, quality workmanship, positive reputation and good employment and business operations, chaos CNY Solaris for the assessments and installment processes.
At a recent site assessment on Westmoreland Street in Syracuse, Richard Champion, a project manager at CNY Solar, assessed the direction the roof faces and the tilt of the roof. The exposure the roof gets to the sun is important for solar energy and the exposure percentage. The amount of exposure coming from the south is of most importance as the sun is tilted to the southern side during the winter and directly overhead in the summer. The estimation cost of the system is based on the labor, the inverter, panels and pricing per watt.
After the site assessment, Champion creates a more detailed appraisal statement and gives it to the property owner, who then decides whether or not they would like to go through with the project. The appraisal and installment program is about a three month process, Champion said.
“This project is taking off very well,” Champion said. “I would recommend anybody to call and get a free estimate, it costs nothing to have me come out and [assess] or even drop a quote and show the savings.”
To find out more about Solarize Syracuse and when the workshop dates are, visit solarizesyracuse.org.
Ashley Wolf is an intern with the Cazenovia Republican. She can be reached at email@example.com.