(BLOOMINGTON) - Residents, businesses and nonprofits in Bloomington and surrounding counties will have another opportunity to install solar at a discount this year with the launch of the Solarize Bloomington Initiative, Phase 2.
The new phase follows on the heels of the first phase, which resulted in 95 new residential solar installations and two large City of Bloomington installations. In total, the program added over one megawatt of new solar capacity within a few months.
A pending change in Indiana law means that going solar before the end of 2017 is much more beneficial for residents than waiting until 2018 or beyond. Installations completed by December 31 will be credited for energy produced at retail rather than wholesale rates until 2047. For systems completed after this date, the energy produced will only garner retail rates until 2032.
"I hope many additional Bloomington households will join mine in going solar," said Mayor John Hamilton. "Solarize Bloomington Phase 2 lowers the barriers and guides the way for Bloomington residents to do their part to reduce the negative impacts of fossil-fuel-based energy."
Solar system prices have dropped by more than half since the city first partnered on residential rooftop solar almost a decade ago. Participants in the Solarize Bloomington Phase 2 will be offered prices of approximately $7,000 after the 30 percent federal tax credit for a four-kilowatt system that can produce about half of the electricity for a typical home.
The City has worked closely in partnership with SIREN (Solar Indiana Renewable Energy Network) and solar installers to implement the program, which will continue through the end of 2017. Phase 2 will also expand the Solar For All component of the program that makes "Going Solar" accessible to even more homeowners.
"These group-buying arrangements put Going Solar within reach for almost every homeowner," said Woodie Bessler, an electrical engineer and volunteer with SIREN. "By financing the cost with a home equity loan, you can replace all or part of your monthly electric bill with a loan payment of about the same cost -- and after the loan is paid off, you get free electricity for the rest of the 30-plus-year life of your system, with net metering until 2047."
The campaign will kick off in July 2017 with public information sessions. Residents interested in attending a session or learning more about the program are asked to fill out an online form at tinyurl.com/solarizebloomington2 or call (812) 325-5968 to get started.
"We were so pleased with the response to the first round of Solarize," said City Sustainability Coordinator Jacqui Bauer. "With the expansion to surrounding counties, we're hoping to demonstrate how much southern Indiana loves solar."