A program to make solar panels more affordable just plugged in its 500th customer in Santa Barbara. The Community Environmental Council’s Solarize program connects homeowners with group-discount pricing with solar companies, reputable and trusted installers, as well as workshops to help them understand the new systems and the choices available. With its 500th installation, at the home of Jill and Michael Murray, CEC says the program’s total solar power output is a sunny 2.5 megawatts.
The Murrays contracted with Sun Pacific Solar to install 11 photovoltaic panels on their roof, gaining 3,135 watts at peak performance and powering their Leaf electric automobile to boot. When they comparison shopped, they found that the Solarize program would save them about 20 percent. After a 30 percent federal tax rebate, their system cost $8,223. All they pay the electric company is a $10 monthly bill for transmission line usage.
The program currently operates in Ventura, San Luis Obispo, Kern, and Santa Barbara counties. According to Jefferson Litten, director of Energy and Climate Programs for the CEC, 2.5 megawatts of solar power saves 2,642 tons of carbon dioxide from conventional energy sources. In its five years of operation, he said, the Solarize program has saved solar owners $2.2 million. To learn more, visit CECSolarize.org.