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Monday, March 25 , 2019, 12:21 pm | A Few Clouds 59º


Environmental Council Helping Light Way to Going Solar

The Community Environmental Council (CEC) announced the launch of Solarize Santa Barbara County, a community-led, group-purchasing program for residential solar electric systems that will run throughout Santa Barbara County May 4 -July 30.

Community and government leaders gathered May 4 to mark the launch of the program, which provides local homeowners the opportunity to go solar at a discounted, group-purchase price by contracting with local solar installers pre-vetted by CEC.

CEC's previous Solarize programs throughout the central coast have helped 524 homeowners go solar.

"The goal of our Solarize program is to make going solar more simple and affordable for homeowners," said April Price CEC renewable energy specialist.

"This year's two partner solar installers, Brighten Solar and Planet Solar, will offer sizable discounts on solar installs throughout Santa Barbara County," Price said.

"Our installer partners were selected by a committee of local experts. They studied the companies, their practices, and their equipment to make a responsible selection on behalf of Santa Barbara County homeowners," she said.

Thursday's event host Elizabeth Wagner spoke of the benefits she has enjoyed since she with added panels to her home with Brighten Solar. "My favorite thing is every month when we get the electricity bills and they are all negative."

As a Realtor, Wagner said, "I am always trying to educate my clients about how to green up their properties, and I thought that this would be a great example to show my clients what I've done.

"Our solar panels here are really inconspicuous — people going by on the street wouldn't even know they're there," she said.

County Supervisor Janet Wolf attended the launch, and spoke of the environmental benefits of solar and her own experience with the Solarize program.

"My husband and I participated in the CEC Solarize program approximately seven years ago," she said. "The information we received, the pricing, and the installation were seamless.

"We now have the benefit of solar that consistently has decreased our energy bills, and we will have paid for the entire solar array sooner than expected. In addition, both my husband and I have plug-in hybrids so we are almost fully driving on sunshine."

Throughout the Solarize program, CEC will host free, educational workshops throughout the county to help homeowners better understand solar technologies, energy efficiency, and financing options.

"The workshops are a great opportunity to learn the ins and outs of going solar - from technical aspects, to the effects on home values, to how your electric bills will shrink," said Price.

Anyone interested in learning about solar is encouraged to attend one of these upcoming workshops:

Thursday, May 25, 6 p.m., at Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara, Jefferson Hall, 1535 Santa Barbara St.

Wednesday, May 31, 6 p.m., at Veteran's Memorial Building, Legion Wing, 1745 Mission Drive, Solvang.

Wednesday, June 21, 6 p.m., at Goleta Valley Community Center, Room 1 5679 Hollister Ave.

To learn more or to apply for Solarize Santa Barbara County, visit SolarizeSB.org or call 963-0583 ext. 101.
— April Price for Community Environmental Council.


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