Saturday, July 22 , 2017, 3:43 am | Fair 62º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Solarize Santa Barbara Launches Program to Help Residents Go Solar

The Community Environmental Council program educates residents considering renewable energy and connects them to local solar panel companies

Solarize Santa Barbara program director April Price speaks during the program’s 2016 launch.
Solarize Santa Barbara program director April Price speaks during the program’s 2016 launch.  (Sam Goldman / Noozhawk photo)

The gigawatt of solar energy generated by the Tri-County region is enough to power a quarter of a million homes for a year, said Jefferson Litten, the Community Environmental Council’s director of energy and climate programs.

The CEC is hoping to add to that figure with its Solarize Santa Barbara program, which launched its 2016 iteration this week.

The program’s launch took place on the property of Santa Barbara residents NancyBell Coe and Bill Burke, who installed their own solar panels in the first Solarize program in 2011.

In attendance were representatives of CEC and their solar company partners and Santa Barbara County First District Supervisor Salud Carbajal.

Solarize Santa Barbara offers educational workshops for South Coast residents thinking of going solar. The workshops cover tax credits, net metering, and other solar-power considerations homeowners might not be familiar with.

Program users have until August 18 to secure a discounted contract with California Solar Electric or Sun Pacific Solar Electric, which were picked to be program partners by a committee of local experts, Litten said.

From there, participants have a year to install their panels.

“I think solar is a no-brainer,” Burke told the group. Since switching over, he said, his and Coe’s electricity bill has dropped by 90 percent.

“These are things can be done and not only save us economically, but really help our environment and help us achieve those renewable energy goals that we all talk about,” Carbajal said.

“We talk about this world that we want, but unless we take steps, unless we create a movement, unless we enlist partners and stakeholders and a sense of community to work towards the same goal, we will never get there.”

Solarize Santa Barbara provides continued support for participants as they navigate their homes’ conversion to solar panels, said April Price, the program’s director. The program has helped 475 homeowners go solar, Litten said.

“The growth of solar and the growth of the Solarize program over the past five years has been nothing short of phenomenal,” he said.

The program is hosting two upcoming workshops — one at the Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara’s Jefferson Hall at 6 p.m. on June 2 and another at the Goleta Valley Community Center’s Room 1 at 6 p.m. on June 21.

Noozhawk staff writer Sam Goldman can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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