TOWN OF HUNTINGTON, New York, May 7
BY: Andrew Wroblewski
After nearly five months of planning, the sun is now shining on the Solarize Huntington program.
On Monday, the Town of Huntington – in partnership with Sustainable CUNY, a part of the City University of New York (CUNY) – kicked off Long Island’s first-ever, solar system group-purchasing program, Solarize Huntington, which aims to reduce the cost of and increase awareness for residential solar energy systems.
“This is special,” Huntington Supervisor Frank Petrone said during a press conference. “We’ve done things with solar in this town and we’ve noticed whenever people have that opportunity they take advantage of it.”
Now through Sept. 10, 2015, residents can sign up for the program online (www.SolarizeHuntington.com) or during one of the program’s informational workshops, “Solarize 101,” the first of which is scheduled for May 11 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Huntington Town Hall.
Once participating homeowners join up, they’ll be paired with Direct Energy Solar – a 7-year-old solar provider headquartered in Maryland – that was selected to spearhead the program through a competitive bidding process.
Options to purchase, finance or lease solar systems are provided by Direct Energy Solar; simply put, the more residents who join up, the more savings that are created – up to 25 percent. Direct Energy Solar has also promised a $500 discount to the first 20 contracts signed through Solarize Huntington.
The installer will take an educational approach to the program, Community Program Manager for Direct Energy Solar Brandon Hart said, working to ensure that customers understand every step in the process of installing solar energy systems and how they could benefit from them.
“We think that, in a town the size of Huntington, with 200,000-plus homeowners we can really knock this one out of the park and get 100-150 contracts signed,” Hart said.
In the end, Town of Huntington officials hope to see the number of solar panel permits per year grow from its current average rate of 500 per year.
While similar programs have been employed in other areas of New York, Solarize Huntington is the first of its kind on Long Island.
“Huntington officials were among the first to step up and commit to actively working on a Department of Energy program aimed at reducing the costs of installing solar in New York,” Laurie Reilly, director of communications for Sustainable CUNY, said in a press release.
Along with the Town of Huntington and Sustainable CUNY, Solarize Huntington was made possible by the New York Solar Smart Program and Huntington’s Advisory Committee on Energy Efficiency, Renewables and Sustainability (ACEERS).
Originally published: Long Islander News: Half Hollow Hills
(Thursday, May 7, 2015; A10)