Now that 95 homes and two large city facilities in Bloomington, IN, have gone solar—installing more than a megawatt of solar in a few months—thanks to Solarize Bloomington’s first phase, it’s launching a second phase. The second phase of the program, which launches in July 2017 and runs through the end of the year, promises to the reduce the cost of a 4 kilowatt system in the city to $7,000 after incentives, including the 30 percent federal tax credit is included.
Solarize campaigns have kicked off in cities and counties across the US. They use the power of group purchasing to achieve economies of scale that allow solar installers to make larger purchases of solar panels and equipment and get them at a discount that they can pass on to consumers.
“I hope many additional Bloomington households will join mine in going solar,” said Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton. “Solarize Bloomington Phase 2 lowers the barriers and guides the way for Bloomington residents to do their part to reduce the negative impacts of fossil-fuel-based energy.”
Those who go solar in Indiana before the end of 2017 will be net-metered at retail rates until 2047. Those who do so in 2018 and before 2022 will only be net-metered at retail rates until 2032. Those who go solar after 2022 will not be net metered or reimbursed for any energy their solar array returns to the electric grid. That’s because of controversial State Bill 309, which Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) signed into law earlier this year.
Phase 2 of the solarize program expands on the first phase as well, by allowing surrounding counties to participate. In addition to Monroe County where Bloomington is located in, residents in Greene, Lawrence, Morgan, Orange and Owen counties are eligible under the second phase of the solarize program.
“We were so pleased with the response to the first round of Solarize,” said City Sustainability Coordinator Jacqui Bauer. “With the expansion to surrounding counties, we’re hoping to demonstrate how much southern Indiana loves solar.”
In creating the second phase of the program Bloomington partnered with SIREN (Solar Indiana Renewable Energy Network) and local solar installers. It also expanded the Solar For All component of the program.
"These group-buying arrangements put Going Solar within reach for almost every homeowner,” said Woodie Bessler, an electrical engineer and volunteer with SIREN. “By financing the cost with a home equity loan, you can replace all or part of your monthly electric bill with a loan payment of about the same cost—and after the loan is paid off, you get free electricity for the rest of the 30-plus-year life of your system, with net metering until 2047.”
Bloominton’s solarize campaign will hold four meetings to teach residents and others about the Solarize opportunities. People can learn more at tinyurl.com/solarizebloomington2 or by calling 812-325-5968.Tweet