How Solarize Works

What is Solarize?

Solarize campaigns are short-term, community-run and state-supported group purchasing and public education campaigns to make it easier and more affordable for homeowners and small businesses to go solar.  Solarize Sullivan is staffed by Catskill Mountainkeeper’s RenewableNY program and volunteers from throughout Sullivan County, New York.

Because we’re non-profit and community run, we’re able to partner with carefully vetted installers to get a great value and discount for everyone who signs up with our campaign. We’re not salespeople and we’re not getting any kickbacks—we’re in it to help grow our community’s green workforce, to save Sullivan County residents money, and to help New York State make the transition to renewable energy. Solarize also helps untangle the state and federal incentives and tax credits available to New Yorkers going solar, and with the Solarize group-purchase discount, can cut the cost of going solar by more than half.

Who is behind Solarize Sullivan?

Solarize Sullivan is staffed by Catskill Mountainkeeper’s RenewableNY program, volunteers throughout Sullivan County, and supported by the New York State Energy Development Authority (NYSERDA).

How does Solarize make going solar simpler and more affordable?

Solarize Sullivan makes it easier to go solar by providing research and information, as well as public events where homeowners and businesses can ask questions and get answers on the spot.  We make it more affordable by partnering with installers to offer discounts to all Sullivan County residents who sign up through our campaign.

Can I go off the grid with Solarize?

No. Solarize campaigns offer grid-tied solar photovoltaic systems.

Can I meet homeowners who have installed solar?

There will be open houses during the campaign where you can meet people who have already gone solar and ask questions. The installers can also provide you with references on systems they have installed.

Does Solarize let me shop around for installers?

Yes! We want you to shop around and research available solar contractors, through Solarize and more broadly. Solarize provides company profiles, comparison pricing sheets, and information on Solarize discounts for each of our installers. Our community educational events give you the opportunity to meet, and even interview, our installer partners. We simply ask that you do that research at events, online or by phone, and use it to choose one installer for your site assessment who will also do the installation if you choose to go ahead with it.

What are the Solarize deadlines?

In order to be eligible for group discounts, all Solarize customers must be enrolled in Solarize Sullivan by September 29th, 2017 and under contract with an installer by October 31st, 2017. Sign up today to go solar with Solarize Sullivan.

How do I get started?

Simple! Enroll in Solarize Sullivan.  You will:

  • get a free site assessment to determine if a home you own or your business is a good fit for solar
  • get more information about how to go solar if you don’t own your home
  • hear about workshops and open houses where you can see solar installations and talk to people who have gone through the process already
  • get the group discount if you decide to go solar

What if I don’t own my home?

You can go solar with a shared solar project. The savings and long-term pricing of solar will still be yours, but the solar arrays that feed solar power to your home will be located elsewhere.

Sullivan County is expected to have shared solar projects online in 2017.  Sign up here  and we’ll keep you informed about shared solar opportunities.

Solar Systems in General

Is my home or business a good fit?

A south-facing roof with sun exposure for most of the day with no obstructions—trees, buildings, or other structures—is ideal.  But if that doesn’t describe you, there may be other options. Solarize Sullivan’s installers can help you decide if solar is right for you. And if you have any questions, our campaign is here to help—email us or call (845) 439-1230.

Do solar panels produce electricity on cloudy days?

Yes, just not as much. Under an overcast sky, panels will generate less electricity than they produce on a clear, sunny day.

How do I maintain my solar panels?

Your selected installer will walk you through the care and feeding of your new solar panels but generally speaking, they require little maintenance. If your system is shaded by trees, you may have to trim and maintain branches to protect your system from falling limbs, and to minimize shading and maximize production.

What is shared solar?

Shared solar (also known as community shared solar or community distributed generation) is an arrangement where solar panels are installed offsite in a sunny location to produce renewable energy for subscribing members.

Financial Considerations

How much can l save?

That depends on the size of the solar system you install or the size of the shared solar system you choose, how much electricity you use, and how much you currently pay. To learn more, sign up with Solarize Sullivan for a free, no-obligation solar site assessment.  Your installer will evaluate your energy use and solar potential and provide you with your energy and cost savings.

Will I still get electric bills?

Yes. You can expect the utility company to charge you a small fee, usually about $15 a month, to connect your solar panels to the grid. During more productive summer months, you may also accrue credits that will carry over to the less productive winter months.

What are the New York State incentives to go solar?

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) provides incentives  based on the size of your system, orientation, shading and other factors. For a typical installation, the incentive will be up to a quarter of your system’s total installed cost. New York State incentives are for primary residents only.

What are the federal incentives?

The federal government provides an investment tax credit equal to nearly one third of your system’s total installed cost, net of state incentives. This can be claimed on your tax return. The Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is a 30 percent tax credit for solar systems on residential (under Section 25D) and commercial (under Section 48) properties.

What about quality, reliability and warranties?

Our installers provide warranties. Be sure to carefully review the warranty on the system you choose. Homeowners insurance will typically cover damage to the system, such as storm impacts, but not wear and tear or manufacturer deficiencies. Research and compare carefully.

Other Questions

Why go solar now?

Between state and federal tax incentives and Solarize discounts, there has never been a better time to go solar—Solarize Sullivan participants can cut the costs of going solar by up to half.

How do I find a reliable installer?

Solarize Sullivan has identified and vetted pre-qualified installers.

Photos: (top) Hailley Delisle; (below, from left) Woodridge, Downtown South FallsburgManion’s General Store in Ferndale

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