Over 400 Dartmouth residents came out for the Dartmouth Solar challenge, a 5-month campaign to increase residents taking advantage of solar electricity. The program boasts 23 new residential solar photovoltaic (PV) installations adding 191 kW of clean energy to the grid. “Dartmouth can be proud of the program,” said Karen Stewart, assistant director of the Energy Challenge. “The Solar Challenge helped to streamline the path to solar for community members.” The first installation of the Dartmouth Solar Challenge took place in mid-July at the home of Donna and Jack Martin. “The fact that Dartmouth vetted the installer helped make the process easier for us,” said Donna and Jack Martin. “We’ve thought about solar for years. It’s the way of the future and, environmentally, it’s the right thing to do.”
SouthCoast Energy Challenge staff participated in over 25 events, providing residents with valuable energy education and hands-on experience, including 2 solar home tours, 5 solar workshops, and a solar demonstration trailer at the Dartmouth YMCA. “We were fortunate to run the campaign during the celebration of Dartmouth’s 350th anniversary,” said Stewart. “We had a great outreach partnership from so many people and organizations in Dartmouth – the YMCA, the Grange, the library, the VFW, local farms, the town, environmental groups – just to name a few.” She added, “We look forward to continuing our efforts to promote home energy assessments, conservation, and clean energy choices.”
The campaign registered 422 participants for a no-cost solar assessment where 39% qualified as sites with solar potential. Of those 164 residents, 49 were presented with proposals and 23 signed contracts. To date, 3 installations have been completed; those remaining will be online by the end of the year. Residents who signed contracts before September 15th were eligible for a $500 rebate upon installation of their PV system. All residents participating were given discounted pricing through solar installer RGS Energy, equivalent to $1,500 – $2,500 per resident.