June 9, 2018
The city’s new Solarize Lockport campaign could save residents and business owners thousands of dollars on the installation of personal solar energy systems, as long as they purchase the system through Solar Liberty.
The campaign is part of Solarize Buffalo Niagara — a campaign to make it easier and cheaper for residents and business owners to purchase solar energy systems, which provide energy-bill savings and slightly reduce reliance on fossil fuels for electricity.
Solarize Buffalo Niagara claims recipients can save up to 20 percent on the market rate for solar energy systems. Solar Liberty was selected after the city put the campaign out to bid.
Without the campaign, homeowners pay about $3.40 per watt after including various additions.
Private residences generally require about 6,000- to-7,000-watt systems.
Rates are often cheaper for commercial properties that purchase far larger systems.
Federal and state tax credits cover about 55 percent of the total installation cost — 30 percent and 25 percent, respectively — after tax filings. Meanwhile, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority provides immediate refunds for eligible applicants. To be eligible for the NYSERDA funds, the system must capture 80 percent of the sunlight at a location.
Solar systems provide energy savings even during nighttime and gloomy weather. Home solar systems use net metering, allowing power to be sent back to the energy grid on sunny days when energy production outpaces consumption. In return, homeowners receive free energy during darker periods when energy consumption exceeds production.
Private and commercial wind turbines operate with the same process.
The Solarize Lockport campaign will officially launch on June 21. Once it’s underway, Solar Liberty will be locked into the discounted rates for Lockport home- and business owners. “They’re very competitive,” Smith said of the pricing.