An effort to bring group purchasing discounts to Connecticut, CT Solar Challenge has gone statewide after a successful pilot in a number of communities earlier this year.
The nonprofit was launched earlier this year with the help of Aegis Solar. It launched in Bethany, Chester and Madison and based on the response there, they’ve launched the program statewide. The CT Solar Challenge said it has installed dozens of systems in the pilot towns. As the organization expands, it is seeking a number of pre-screened solar installers to join the program. Installers can register with CT Solar Challenge here: INSTALLERS | CTSolarChallenge. The group is only accepting applications from local companies, however, in order to keep the community connections strong. CT Solar Challenge will select installers through a competitive process and will pair them appropriate towns, according to Shoreline Times.
By using group purchasing, the organization is able to access economies of scale within a community to help bring down the costs of solar. Similar group purchasing discounts have been used in other states as well, including Pennsylvania, Oregon, Massachusetts and New Jersey, for example.
The CT Solar Challenge also is able to reduce the cost of solar in a community by relying on volunteers for community outreach and education rather than using sales and marketing.
“The response to the pilot program has been tremendous,” CT Solar Challenge Assistant Director Stephanie Mallozzi told the Shoreline Times. “Its success, saving consumers and businesses thousands of dollars each, made us decide to go statewide. By utilizing local solar contractors and expanding the program throughout Connecticut, CT Solar Challenge aims to bring affordable solar energy to as many state residents as possible.”
To participate, municipalities have to sign a letter of commitment with the program, recruit volunteers and provide space for solar workshops to educate residents about solar and the program. After that there are no costs to the town for hosting a CT Solar Challenge group purchasing program. Also, if a town or city gets enough participants it can get a free solar installation, based on how many residents go solar.
Under the program, home and business owners can go solar with photovoltaics as well as solar thermal (hot water) and solar pool heating. The organization requires the participating installers to provide a 20-year installation and labor warranty.