‘Solarize Manchester’ initiative kicks off

By Lisa Stone - ReminderNews
Manchester - posted Thu., Oct. 10, 2013
Ed and Lisette Comstock are hopeful they can find a way to save on energy. Photo by Lisa Stone.
Ed and Lisette Comstock are hopeful they can find a way to save on energy. Photo by Lisa Stone.

Representatives of Encon Solar Energy Division came to Manchester High School on Oct. 3 to tell residents how they can solarize their homes. Addressing the audience for Encon, Alex Marroquin explained that residents can drastically lower their monthly utility bills with solarization. The company is offering a group discount to the residents of Manchester. The more homes that are part of the campaign, the lower the price will be for the unit and installation. This opportunity is being offered through the town of Manchester in partnership with the state of Connecticut.

According to Encon, the first step would be to have a representative come to the home and provide a free solar energy evaluation on the property to be sure that the building is a good candidate for the system. A proper amount of sunlight needs to hit the house for the solar panels to work properly. The main things the evaluation looks at are orientation of the home, roof pitch, shading, the main breaker panel and the homeowner's electric bill.

The next step would be the preliminary layout of  the solar array as well as a financial summary to decide what system and approach would benefit the homeowner the most. Since each system is customized to the house, there is no standard price. This would be when the homeowner would be given the financial information.

After the best plan has been presented to the homeowner, it is up to them to decide if it is the right thing to do at the time. Once the homeowner has gotten all the facts and feels that this is something to pursue, all the documents and permits will be taken care of by Encon. Installation would be the next step of the process after the paperwork is done. This is usually one week or less.

Encon does a walk-through with their customers when the job is finished. It is very important that the homeowner is satisfied with the results. After the homeowner’s inspection is complete, it is also subjected to a building and electrical inspection, utility inspection and finally, the CEFIA/NYSERDA inspection.

Solar systems generate their own energy. Therefore, the utility company will rebate or credit the homeowner for the excess power created by the system. Encon says that homeowners will see the results in their very first utility bill, stressing that people who buy the system will no longer be vulnerable to the rising cost of energy. For more information about this project, go online to www.SolarizeCT.com/Manchester.

Ed and Lisette Comstock came out to hear the details. “I am very interested in solar energy,” said Ed. “I think, as a nation, we need to find ways of being less oil dependant and look for alternatives. Renewable energy is a great thing. I will be interested in what they have to say tonight. I am always looking for a better way to heat my home and use less electricity.”

Nancy Parker lives in a nearby condominium complex. “I am always looking to save energy,” said Parker. “I would love it if my condo complex would convert to solar energy. I have brought this up at meetings in the past, and the consensus was it was too expensive or just not worthwhile. I would love to revisit that conversation if Encon has something good to say tonight.”

Mayor Leo Diana also attended the solar seminar. “I would love to see Manchester become self-sufficient,” said Diana. “Using the sun for energy would be a much better way to live. It would be better for the economy as well as the environment. I know people are always looking for ways to cut back on expenses, and solar energy may offer just that. That is why I would like to see Manchester become solarized.”

Brian T. Wolverton, a  management analyst from the Office of Budget and Research for the Town of Manchester said, “The Town is doing quite a bit to encourage businesses and residents to install solar. Residents can get very low cost solar for their homes through the Solarize Manchester program by taking part in a group purchasing opportunity which goes through February 20 2014.

Businesses can finance solar and other green technologies and energy efficiency improvements through their tax assessment through the C-PACE program. The Town has exempted clean energy additions from real estate values assessments for tax purposes, and permit fees have been waived for these types of projects.” Wolverton went on to say, “As for town buildings, we’ve assessed our option on a number of occasions over the last four years, but the vast majority of our buildings are not suitable for one reason or another. The school has a few locations that would be eligible, but they have not moved forward with anything as of yet. We did get 3 kilowatts of solar installed on the high school as part of the Clean Energy Communities Program back in 2010, and we will assess the potential for solar installations as we proceed with roof replacements or major roof renovations on town buildings.”

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