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Posted on: April 19, 2017

Lower costs make 2017 a great year to consider solar power

The Solarize Vienna program, which runs through June 30, is making it easier – and less expensive – than ever for local residents and business owners to harness the sun to generate power.

A community-based outreach partnership among the Northern Virginia Regional Commission (NVRC), Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP), and several Northern Virginia jurisdictions, Solarize offers a one-stop shop for those considering solar power. The program provides vetted contractors and pre-negotiated terms and prices.

The cost to install solar photovoltaic panels is 30 percent less now than it was two years ago, says NVRC Executive Director Robert Lazaro. “There’s truly never been a better time financially to go solar,” he says. “I don’t think that prices are going to get any better than this.”

In addition, he adds, those who install solar systems are eligible for a 30% solar investment tax credit from the federal government.

“For me, going solar was really about reducing my carbon footprint,” says Vienna resident Susan Stillman, who is chair of the Town’s Community Enhancement Commission. “But I’ve got to say, it’s been fantastic to get super-low Dominion bills. In seven months of 2016, I bought no electricity from the utility.”

The Community Enhancement Commission will provide more information about going solar at the Green Expo, which is part of the Walk on the Hill event from 2-5 p.m. Sunday, April 30, in the historic Windover Heights neighborhood. Attendees can visit a home with solar panels and speak with homeowners about their experience.

Another Solarize informational session will be held at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 23, at Town Hall.

Councilmember Carey Sienicki and her family adopted solar energy in their home 18 months ago. “Day-to-day,” she says, “you don’t notice any difference in your routine in terms of energy. The fun part is going to the app online and analyzing its impact. You can look at the number of equivalent trees planted, calculate your carbon footprint savings, and see other benefits.”

Residents and business owners can get a good idea if solar would work well for them by utilizing the solar map at novasolarmap.com. Additional information may be found at solarizevienna.org.

The Town of Vienna is participating in a friendly challenge among other local governments in Fairfax County to see which community will earn bragging rights for having the most residents (per capita) commit to solar energy through the 2017 Solarize program. 

Solarize website
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