The Solarize Ann Arbor program has hit a major milestone: the sale and committed installation of 300 kilowatts of local solar energy. Initiated in late 2019, Solarize Ann Arbor is a program of the City of Ann Arbor’s carbon neutrality work, known as A2ZERO. Solarize Ann Arbor is a community bulk-buy program that gathers neighbors and friends together, along with participating installers, to learn about and install solar energy on their homes or businesses. By bringing together multiple individuals interested in solar, the city has been able to pre-negotiate discounts with installers: discounts which can reach up to 15% off the cost of a solar installation. When combined with the 26% federal tax credit in effect this year, the program is helping to bring solar energy within reach for many more households and businesses.
“The Solarize Ann Arbor program is a key piece of our efforts to achieve a just transition to community-wide carbon neutrality by 2030,” says Missy Stults, City of Ann Arbor sustainability and innovations manager. “By helping residents produce their own power, we are reducing local greenhouse gas emissions, stimulating the local economy, helping create local jobs, and enhancing the resilience of our overall power sector, all while helping Ann Arborites save money.”
As of July 2020, the Ann Arbor Solarize program had led to over $148,000 in direct installation savings for the nearly 50 participating households. The program continues to enroll participants, and this number will likely grow significantly by the end of the calendar year. The City of Ann Arbor Office of Sustainability and Innovations is currently looking at ways to grow the program, including exploring the integration of energy efficiency and beneficial electrification into the program.
“In addition to the installations directly resulting from the program, more residents are being exposed to the idea of producing their own clean energy, and they are starting to think about pairing this work with energy efficiency measures and switching to electric appliances to really maximize both the environmental and financial benefits,” says Julie Roth, program coordinator for Solarize. “We have reached over 350 households through our happy hours, solarize meetings and educational events thus far, and we are only getting started.”
Solarize Ann Arbor is open to anyone in Washtenaw County. Individuals interested in learning more can visit www.a2gov.org/solar. The city will also host a Solarize Ann Arbor event Saturday, July 11, and is working on two more events for August for interested individuals to learn more and potentially sign up to receive their free solar assessment. Find out more on www.a2gov.org/solar.
The Solarize Ann Arbor program is a key component of the city’s A2ZERO carbon neutrality plan, which was unanimously adopted by Ann Arbor City Council June 1, 2020. To learn more about the city’s carbon neutrality work, visit www.a2zero.org.