It’s May and summer is almost upon us!
We are happy to announce that we have officially partnered with a solar manufacturer called SunPower. We see this relationship as quite an honor since less than 2% of dealers that apply are actually accepted into the SunPower family. One of the advantages of working with SunPower is that they have been aggressive in developing financing options for potential clients. We are also talking with outfits like SunRun that offer creative leasing solutions and we are particularly excited about Hudson Valley’s own Walden Savings Bank’s new Green Home Improvement Loans.
Everyday we meet people that are unfamiliar with how green energy works and the benefits of it. There is no better example of this than in municipal building departments. We have found that much of the time lag between contract signing and actual installation can be attributed to municipal officials who never seen a solar energy system much less determined whether they are up to code. And, apparently we aren’t alone in this discovery.
In April, Connecticut launched their version of the US Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative as a means of providing grant money to municipalities to tighten their solar energy regulations, thereby removing the soft barriers to installing systems. Soft barriers “can add 20 to 25 percent onto the total cost of an installation” and include stagnancy in the permitting process, outdated planning and zoning codes, and lag time in connecting systems to the grid.
The grant will be used by Connecticut’s Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority and its partners to develop standards that could be implemented in 12 of its municipalities, many of which border us here to the West. The goal is to create solar energy permitting regulations that can be implemented throughout the state.
We are excited about this because we recently found out that we are in good standing for being certified solar energy contractors in Connecticut! (Wish us luck!)
Other areas of the country, especially in California, have recognized the need for inter-jurisdictional efforts to universalize permitting standards and building codes where they pertain to renewable energy. But, here in the east it was Vermont that eliminated the need to obtain permits for systems producing fewer than 5 kilowatts of power, a year ago this month. Vermont residents and business owners can fulfill their obligations by registering their small systems with the state, much like registering a car!
We are hopeful that this way of thinking will make it to New York, and especially the Hudson Valley. Not only would it make us more efficient contractors, it would save money for our customers! And, we can’t argue with that.