The Solarize Essex program has come to a close. Over 100 surveys were performed on viable sites, and the number of solar-powered homes in Essex has more than tripled as a result of this program. The nearby towns of Chester, Deep River, and Old Saybrook were also able to take advantage of the discounted rates, helping solar to grow across the state of Connecticut.
Solarize Essex utilized a variety of marketing efforts to spread the word, and educate residents about solar energy. The project lead of the program, Stacy Abbott, headed a team of hard-working of solar ambassadors, driven by their passion for bringing clean energy to the people. The group held several workshops and installation open houses, which were great forums for interested residents to ask specific questions. Around town, the blue and gold signage became a familiar sight, with banners hung downtown, placards placed on lawns, and even a solar trash compactor emblazoned with the Solarize logo.
Many of the residents who signed contracts during the Solarize campaign already have their panels up and running. Others will have installations within the next month. Of course, even though the Solarize discounts have ended, there are still state and federal incentives for solar, and it is still a better time than ever to consider going solar.
The success of Solarize will be utilized even more, as Yale University is in the midst of a research study to determine what makes the program successful and how other leaders and policy-makers can use it.
In the meantime, the towns for the Phase 5 of the program have yet to be announced. The application to become a Solarize town has been extended, and more information can be found on the SolarizeCT website.