Tuesday, May 22 , 2018, 8:20 am | A Few Clouds 54º


Solarize Santa Ynez Valley Offers 3-Month Discount Purchasing Program

The Santa Ynez Valley Alliance and the Community Environmental Council have announced the launch of Solarize Santa Ynez Valley.

Solarize SYV is a three-month group purchasing program designed to make going solar easier and more affordable for Santa Ynez Valley residents.

“For anyone in the valley area who has ever thought about going solar, now is the time,” said Megan Birney, the CEC’s energy programs manager, noting that 86 homeowners took advantage of a similar short-term discount programs that the CEC offered in Santa Barbara in 2011 and 2012.

“With Solarize Santa Ynez Valley, we help guide homeowners through the entire process as an unbiased expert resource — making it as easy as possible for everyone to go solar,” Birney said.

Santa Ynez Valley Alliance president Mark Oliver noted the nonprofit organization’s enthusiastic endorsement of the Solarize Santa Ynez Valley program.

“We can’t think of a better program that reflects the importance we residents place on preserving and protecting our Valley way of life,” he said. “Creating clean energy at an efficient cost equals a better living environment for all of us.”

Solvang Mayor Jim Richardson also touted the launch of Solarize Santa Ynez Valley.

“I hope that many residents take advantage of this wonderful program and of the great solar resource we have here in the Valley,” said Richardson, who has already gone solar, “I own two solar arrays and am a great supporter of solar power. Besides the benefits environmentally, it has saved me thousands of dollars in electricity costs. Even using a hot tub and air conditioning, my electric bills total just $200 to $500 a year. I can’t wait to add an electric car.”

Valley residents and wine makers Brooke and Mike Carhartt (Carhartt Vineyard & Winery), the hosts of the event, just went solar with a 9.18 kilowatt (kW) system mounted atop two of their barn roofs. The couple showcased their solar array to local dignitaries and media at the event.

“We are thrilled to finally have solar,” Brooke Carhartt said. “Going solar is something that we have wanted to do for years and is a great thing that we can do for the environment.”

The Carhartts are looking forward to the years of financial savings their system will bring.

Solarize Santa Ynez Valley is available for three months — April 1 through June 30. During this time, residents in the valley can purchase solar electricity at a set, discounted price from two local installers: REC Solar and Solarponics. After a rigorous application process, CEC and SYVA vetted and selected these two companies based on their experience, quality of work and pricing.

“Some homeowners find the process of getting multiple bids from solar installers to be time-consuming and confusing,” Birney said. “This program eliminates much of that hassle and legwork by locking in a set price for all participants and offering an objective third party assessment of the installers.”

Solarize SYV also includes leasing options so that homeowners can switch to solar with little to nothing down. Leases are great options for homeowners who do not have the ability to pay the initial upfront costs or who cannot take the federal tax credits.

The SYVA and CEC will be hosting several free workshops for homeowners interested in learning more about going solar and Solarize Santa Ynez Valley The first workshop will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. April 9 at the Solvang Veteran’s Hall, Legion wing. Click here for more information about homeowner workshops and Solarize Santa Ynez Valley.

— Jefferson Litten is a Solarize program coordinator for the Community Environmental Council.

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