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Solar campaign to see kickoff this weekend

Solar Liberty employees
Pete Demola
April 20, 2017

ELIZABETHTOWN — New York has made an aggressive effort to position itself as a national leader in renewable energy.

The state’s Clean Energy Standard has mandated 50 percent of the state’s electricity must be generated by renewable sources by 2030.

Chief in meeting the mission is solar. To facilitate their goals, the state has rolled out solarize campaigns, or locally organized community outreach efforts designed to sign up groups of homes and businesses in a single area.

This type of clustered outreach, says the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), allows for better pricing.

A new coalition, Solarize Essex County NY, was approved by NYSERDA in February.

A rollout event for the campaign is slated for Earth Day on Saturday, April 22 in Elizabethtown from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Solar panels and exhibits will be set up along Court Street by Buffalo-based provider Solar Liberty.

Representatives will be on-site to answer questions from homeowners who are interested in converting to solar energy through the use of panels installed at their residences, either on the roof, ground or via pole mount.

“We’re focused on widespread education of solar energy,” said Kylie Monacelli, a sales and marketing administrator with Solar Liberty. “We’re hoping it’s going to be a fun time for the community as well as educational, which is what we pride ourselves on.”

A number of credits aim to sweeten the deal for interested businesses and homeowners, including state and federal tax credits.

A NYSERDA grant currently provides for 40 cents per watt off of gross system costs.

The average utility bill for local homeowners is reduced to $18 per month, Monacelli said.

The effort focuses on homes in the eastern part of the county, including Elizabethtown, Moriah, Westport, Essex, Crown Point, Schroon, Ticonderoga and North Hudson.

“We’ve gotten a big rate reduction from Solar Liberty to have them to do the installs,” said Joan Cunningham, founder of ADK Community Works, a leading member of the coalition.

Additional members include New York State Electricity & Gas and the Adirondack North Country Association, who is also spearheading efforts in Clinton County.

Nine hundred solar projects are currently underway through 26 community campaigns across the state, according to materials provided by the governor’s office.

“It’s a great opportunity to save money and help the environment, especially for future generations,” said Monacelli.