Solarize Mansfield/Windham celebrates first installation

By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Mansfield - posted Wed., Apr. 10, 2013
C-TEC Solar installs a solar system in Mansfield on April 7, during an open house sponsored by Solarize Connecticut Mansfield-Windham. Photos by Melanie Savage.
C-TEC Solar installs a solar system in Mansfield on April 7, during an open house sponsored by Solarize Connecticut Mansfield-Windham. Photos by Melanie Savage.

A group stood in a driveway on Brookside Lane in Mansfield Center on April 6, looking up at the roof of the home of Kathorin Stuart. C-TEC Solar was installing solar panels on Stuart’s roof, and she was extremely excited. “I’ve been waiting for a program like this for years and years and years,” said Stuart, referring to Solarize Mansfield-Windham, the sponsors of the open house.

Stuart’s home was the first one to be solarized through the Mansfield-Windham initiative, a campaign expected to match the effectiveness of previous Solarize CT campaigns, according to Toni Bouchard, vice president for SmartPower. According to the company website, SmartPower is “the nation’s leading non-profit marketing firm dedicated to promoting clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency.”

The firm has partnered with the state of Connecticut to promote the Solarize CT campaign. The last round of the project involved the towns of Durham, Fairfield, Portland and Westport. “In every town we more than doubled the amount of solar power over the past seven years,” said Bouchard. In Durham, for example, over the 20-week period of the campaign, Solarize Durham produced 117 contracts with homeowners seeking to solarize their homes. In total, the previous campaign produced nearly 300 contracts, according to Bouchard.

The current round of Solarize CT involves a partnership between Mansfield and Windham, as well as the towns of Coventry and Canton and the city of Bridgeport. In each area, a solar installer is chosen, and homeowners sign up to install systems. In addition to savings realized through regular state incentives, homeowners receive the benefit of additional savings made possible through bulk installations, savings which grow larger with larger numbers of participation.

For homeowners, the expected payback is 5.5 to 7.5 years, according to Mickey Toro, owner of C-TEC Solar, the chosen installer for the Mansfield-Windham campaign. “Within that period of time the system has paid for itself,” said Toro. And with a warranty period of 25 years, with an expected lifetime extending far beyond that, the homeowner is looking at a substantial reduction in energy costs. “What we try to set up for the homeowner is a system that will basically be replacing their electric payment,” said Toro. Depending on a homeowner’s situation and the size of the system, it is not unreasonable to expect a system to provide 100 percent of a home’s electricity, said Toro.

So far between Mansfield and Windham, 180 residents have inquired about the program, according to Toro. With 45 to 50 homes required to realize Tier 5 (the highest level of savings), this could mean an additional savings for Stuart. But Stuart is happy with the deal she is already getting, and a rebate check would just be icing on the cake, she said. 

Stuart said she didn’t hesitate to sign up after C-TEC came out to assess her home. Her decision was based on a number of different factors. The savings was too good to pass up, she said. She trusts the installer because he has already been vetted by the town. “I’ve lived in Mansfield over half my life, in this house,” said Stuart. “I trust my town.” And solar is the right thing to do, according to Stuart. “If I could go off the grid, I would,” she said. “We’re the parasites here; the earth is our host.” Stuart said she does everything she can to be a better caretaker of the planet. Solar power is a big part of that, she said. “It’s the right thing to do,” said Stuart.

And, with the combined savings realized via state incentives in combination with further savings offered through Solarize Mansfield-Windham, “I’ll only pay $12,000 for this,” said Stuart. “That’s an incredible deal. I call this my home improvement investment.”

The deadline for signing up for Solarize Mansfield-Windham and Solarize Coventry is July 12, 2013. For more information about Mansfield-Windham, call C-TEC Solar at 1-855-767-6527. The installer in Coventry is Encon. Contact them at 203-375-5228. Or go to www.SolarizeCT for more information.

For more information about solar incentives outside of the Solarize CT campaigns, go to http://www.cleanenergyauthority.com/solar-rebates-and-incentives/connect....


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