OSWEGO – SolarizeCNY will host a free workshop on solar energy systems from 6 to 7:30 p.m. April 20 at the McCrobie Building, 41 Lake St., Oswego.
The workshop will include a presentation on the basics of solar electric systems for the homeowner, as well as a new way of using solar energy called community solar. Representatives from several solar energy companies will be on hand with information and displays, and will be available to answer questions from workshop participants.
“For anyone thinking about solar energy for their home, this is a rare opportunity to get educated by the experts,” said Tim Carroll, chairman of the Oswego County Environmental Management Council and a local organizer of the event. “Installing solar electricity in your home can save energy costs, reduce pollution, and support the fastest-growing energy sector of today’s economy.”
Last year, 22 homeowners in Oswego County installed solar electric systems through SolarizeCNY.
A common question about solar energy in New York is weather related – “Isn’t it too cloudy here?”
In fact, according to Katelyn Kriesel, project coordinator for SolarizeCNY, solar panels are quite efficient even when skies are overcast. More significant, however, is New York State’s pricing system known as “net metering.” Through this program, the homeowner can accumulate excess solar-generated electric credits during the peak output summer months, and then apply those credits to winter usage when generation is lower. This system recently changed through decisions made by the Public Service Commission, which will be explained during the presentation.
SolarizeCNY is a non-profit organization which is able to able to obtain significant discounts through bulk purchasing from participating vendors. The organization is offering a series a workshops across a 5-county region of Central New York. The Oswego County workshop was re-scheduled from its original March date due to inclement weather.
In addition to technical information about solar power, the presentation will describe how the costs of solar electric system are significantly reduced when government incentives are factored in. The New York State Energy Development Authority (NYSERDA) gives a percentage cash rebate on the cost of the system. The rebate goes to the installer, but is passed directly to the consumer.The federal tax credit allows the owner to take 30 percent of the cost of the system as a tax credit. New York State allows a 25 percent credit on NYS taxes. These financial incentives can offer up to a 60 percent savings on the cost of a solar install, with a return on investment of 12- to 15 percent over 25 years.
Seven solar companies will participate in the workshop. They include Halco, SunCommon, Taitem, Renovus Solar, CNY Solar, Apex Solar Power, and ETM Solar Works.
“The choices in selecting a system are extensive and can include size of panels, number, orientation, roof vs. ground mount, brand of equipment, code requirements, warranty information, performance data, etc.,” said Kriesel. “Homeowners can sign up for no-cost site evaluations from up to three of the vendors.”
In addition to the installers, homeowners who purchased solar systems last year through SolarizeCNY will be present to answer questions.
“We hope anyone thinking about installing solar electric power at their home will consider attending this workshop,” said Kriesel. “There is no cost, and no advance registration is required. Give us a call at 315 422-8224 if you would like more information, or check out our website at http://www.solarizecny.org/”
The workshop is sponsored by the Oswego County Environmental Management Council and the Oswego County Department of Community Development, Tourism and Planning.