DARTMOUTH SOLAR CHALLENGE WRAPS-UP October 2014
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 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 twenty-five events, providing residents with valuable energy education and hands-on experience, including two solar home tours, five 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 new 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. Residents who signed contracts during the program 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 $1500 – $2500 per resident.
“When designing our house we knew we had the opportunity and in our eyes the responsibility to make it as energy efficient as feasibly possible, within the scope of our budget. Solar power was an integral part of our energy plan especially when we factored in the tax, rebate, and SREC incentives here in Massachusetts. By ensuring our project was very tight and very Kaput’s home with brand new solar panels!well insulated, our PV array should produce enough energy to power, heat, and cool our home. After researching and pricing a number of companies, we decided to contract with RGS Energy for the purchase and installation of our array. Our system is up and running now and I must say that RGS Energy did a great job of simplifying the paper work and making sure we had a clear understanding during every step of the process.” – Noah Kaput, Dartmouth Resident and proud owner of brand new solar panels from Real Goods Solar