The Solarize Madison project is a grassroots, community-led effort that streamlines the entire process of installing solar energy for the average homeowner in Madison County. Besides walking residents through the solar installation process, the cost of solar is significantly lowered through group purchasing. The goal of Solarize Madison is to bring at least 15 solar photovoltaic and 20 solar thermal (hot water) installations to the county. Early adopters are taking advantage of the opportunity and many of the instillations have already been put in place and have received strong positive feedback.
Bruce Moseley, Associate Director of Corporate, Foundation, and Government Relations, is one of those early adopters. Bruce researched different types of alternative energy sources, including wind, but decided that they were not right for his home. However, when he heard about Solarize Madison he thought “Let’s do it!’In addition to incentives from New York State, Bruce received a grant for $2,000 from Solarize Madison for being one of the first 15 participants and will also receive additional tax credits. He estimates there is about a 6-7 year payback period, but he can already see the savings happening.
Bruce clarifies that getting solar panels for most households does not make them independent of the energy grid. Instead, the solar power supplements the energy they need to pull from the grid. Bruce’s panels generate about 3,000 of the 6,200 kWhs that his house uses, effectively cutting his electric bill in half. During daylight hours the meter can often be seen running backwards, even when high-energy use appliances, like the clothes dryer, are running. Bruce explains that all the information from the panels is displayed clearly by the panels operating software. Everything from number of trees saved to the efficiency and use of each panel can be displayed. Bruce recently told his story to sustainability interns Amanda Griffiths ’13 and Jayne Tamboia ’13 and is now a part of the Office of Sustainability’s Podcast Series. Visit the sustainability website to listen to the short podcast.
In 2013 Solarize Madison will add solar thermal hot water systems to their program. If you want to learn more, check out the Solarize Madison website at www.solarizemadison.com.