Sustainable Putnam

Solarize Putnam II: Home Installations!

Sustainable Putnam is preparing to launch a new solar electric installation program for home and business owners throughout Putnam county. 

“Installing solar electric panels on your home or business can be a great investment for your budget and our planet,” said Sustainable Putnam President Joe Montuori. “But it can also be complicated. There’s a learning curve, and many options and decisions to make in each solar installation project.” As a local community nonprofit, however, Sustainable Putnam provides free consultations and advice, and is already working to choose a reputable, local installer for our program.

Solar Panel installation in progress on a Putnam County home, August 2020.

This approach will educate local residents and businesses, helping them to make the best decision for their unique circumstances. “We may determine that a solar installation isn’t appropriate at this time for your home or business. We’ll walk folks through the factors to consider.”  If a solar installation isn’t feasible, community solar is another option that requires no installations, fees, or cancellation penalties. “We’re also enrolling Putnam residents in our Solarize Putnam community solar program, providing a 10% reduction in electricity bills,” he added.

More home and business owners have been reaching out to Sustainable Putnam in recent months, a trend that Montuori said will likely continue. Rising oil and natural gas prices and lower-priced, more efficient solar panels, he said, are fueling higher demand for solar. That led to development of this second phase of Solarize Putnam dedicated to local solar installations.

“Our first step has been to send out a Request For Proposals to 10 local solar installation companies. We’re setting a pretty high bar, but given how competitive the market is, we believe we’ll find a single best contractor to work with Putnam customers.” 

Choosing one, rather than several vendors for customers to choose from, is a key part of the strategy. For one thing, the competitive field makes participation in a Solarize program unattractive to some vendors. 

“There’s little advantage to agreeing to our conditions if they would still be competing with one another. We’re saying to these contractors, give us your best offer in terms of high-quality solar panels, workmanship, warranty, and assistance with obtaining tax credits and rebates, and we’ll give exclusive access to the potential customers we find to the contractor with the best offer.” An independent committee of volunteers will review the proposals to select the best offer among the responding contractors. 

An investment in solar panels can be a purely financial decision, but many people are also interested because they know it reduces our dependence on fossil fuels. “More and more, people are realizing that we all have to do our part to reverse climate change. Government and industry have essential roles, but it’s up to every citizen too.” 

Be sure to sign up below for the latest news and updates on this program, and learn how you can participate. The Solarize Putnam webpage will also host updates, as well as a link to participate. Stay tuned!