For more information contact:
Bill Gupton – 704.367.0068 or Luis Rodriguez -704.526.8125
Solarize Charlotte Launches, Offering Discounts and Ease for Rooftop Solar Energy
April 21, 2014 – The Cleaner is Cheaper coalition has announced that Earth Day will mark the launch of Solarize Charlotte, a non-profit effort to make rooftop solar systems as easy and affordable as possible for Charlotte area residents. The three month program, which is being supported by over 20 community, faith and grassroot groups, will offer group discounts and help participants with tax incentives and low interest loans to ensure that anyone who wants to lower their electricity bill and carbon footprint will be able to with their own rooftop solar energy system.
“We’re extremely pleased to be able to support the Solarize Charlotte program and the opportunity it presents to educate and engage the greater Charlotte community in solar energy and energy efficiency,” said Bill Gupton of the Sierra Club. “As affordable and clean solar energy grows, we’ll create hundreds of new jobs and help to clean up our air, water, and land. Solarize Charlotte is definitely an idea whose time has come.”
Solarize Charlotte, which will run until July 31st, is working closely with RED Group, a certified, local solar company that specializes in residential and small commercial solar installations. The business will offer free home solar assessments to interested residents and a group discount to everyone who chooses to participate in the program. Between the group discount and tax incentives, participants will get up to 75% off the market price for their home solar system.
“Solar energy is a great way to invest in your home and your future by permanently reducing your electricity bill and using energy that doesn’t pollute our air or water,” said Cynthia Redwine, owner of RED Group. “North Carolina has huge potential for solar energy and we’re thrilled to help Charlotte residents tap into that potential with Solarize Charlotte.”
Solarize programs, endorsed by the Department of Energy, have been run across the country for the last five years, bringing solar energy to thousands of new customers. Solarize Charlotte will provide participants with solar panels manufactured in the United States in order to boost both local and national solar markets.
“The Solarize program is a winning strategy to boost local industry, get North Carolinians back to work, and provide clean, safe power to low-income communities and working families struggling in these tough economic times,” said Luis Rodriguez of Action NC. “The sun has, and always will be, our greatest energy source and this is a way to tap into that tremendous wealth. Action NC works in low-income communities, with everyday North Carolinians who need this program now, not twenty years from now. We are proud to stand with the Cleaner is Cheaper Coalition and support the effort to Solarize.”
For more infoon Solarize Charlotte visit cleanerischeaper.com
For more info on RED Group visit http://redgroupnc.com/
Bill Gupton, 704-367-0068, firstname.lastname@example.org or
Luis Rodriguez, 704-526-8125, email@example.com
The full list of supporting groups includes Action NC, Appalachian Voices, Carolina Climate Action, Center for Community Change, Clean Air Carolina, Earthkeepers – Myers Park Baptist Church, Environment North Carolina, Greenpeace, Habitat for Humanity, Holy Covenant United Church of Christ, Medical Advocates for Healthy Air, NAACP, NC Conservation Network, NC Green Building Council, NC Interfaith Power & Light, NC League of Conservation Voters, NC WARN, SACE, SHIFT, Sierra Club, Sustain Charlotte, Temple Beth El.
Solarize Charlotte Press Conference Comments
Good morning. My name is Bill Gupton and I’m currently the Charlotte field organizer with the Sierra Club.
The Sierra Club is extremely pleased to be a part of the growing list of organizations, institutions, and individuals committed to growing solar energy in the greater Charlotte Mecklenburg area. The success of the Solarize program in communities across the United States demonstrates that this is an idea whose time has come.
We know that solar energy offers a wide range of benefits over traditional fuel sources.
First, generating electricity from renewable energy rather than fossil fuels offers significant public health benefits. The air and water pollution emitted by coal and natural gas plants is linked to breathing problems, neurological damage, heart attacks, and cancer. Replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy has been found to reduce premature mortality and lost workdays, and it reduces overall healthcare costs. In addition, wind and solar energy require essentially no water to operate and thus do not pollute water resources or strain supply by competing with agriculture, drinking water systems, or other important water needs. Solarize Charlotte homeowners will be doing their part to help clean up air our and conserve our water.
Secondly, compared with fossil fuel technologies, which are typically mechanized and capital intensive, the renewable energy industry is more labor-intensive. This means that, on average, more jobs are created for each unit of electricity generated from renewable sources than from fossil fuels. Renewable energy projects therefore keep money circulating within the local economy, and renewable electricity production would reduce the need to spend money on importing coal and natural gas from other places. Solarize Charlotte homeowners will be supporting local jobs and our North Carolina economy.
Thirdly, electricity production accounts for more than one-third of U.S. global warming emissions, with the majority generated by coal-fired power plants, which produce approximately 25 percent of total U.S. global warming emissions; natural gas-fired power plants produce 6 percent of total emissions. In contrast, most renewable energy sources produce little to no global warming emissions. Solarize Charlotte homeowners can take pride in being a part of the shift from energy sources that contribute to climate disruption.
Finally, renewable energy is providing affordable electricity across the country right now, and can help stabilize energy prices in the future. The costs of renewable energy technologies have declined steadily, and are projected to drop even more. For example, the average price of a solar panel has dropped almost 60 percent since 2011. Solarize Charlotte homeowners will be able to take advantage of group purchasing discounts, tax credits, and other incentives to reduce their monthly electricity costs while adding value to their property.
Most importantly, Solarize Charlotte is an opportunity for Charlotte area citizens to become part of the clean energy revolution. Sierra Club members and supporters will be joining other volunteers to reach out to neighborhood associations, church and civic groups, and other organizations to explain the installation process, the costs and tax considerations, and other factors to make the decision to install a solar system as easy as possible.
We hope that Solarize Charlotte will serve as a model for other cities in North Carolina and communities across the southeast to develop their own programs. We know that that the success of Solarize Charlotte will demonstrate that clean, affordable, roof-top residential solar energy is indeed an idea whose time is now!
Sources for solar benefits from the Union of Concerned Scientists