Weekly Feature

2017-12-06 / Front Page

Nearly 60 residences to have solar energy installed

Solarize Amherst

In May, the Town of Amherst launched the first Solarize campaign in the Buffalo Niagara region and, according to town officials, more than 140 residents inquired about Solarize Amherst and a total of 59 solar systems were sold prior to the program ending in September.

Other program statistics detailed by Town Supervisor Barry Weinstein are:

• Installation of 1,283 panels

• Estimated production of 442,781 kilowatt hours

• Average net system cost of $7,285

The supervisor also estimated that the economic impact is $1.03 million and the federal and state tax incentives leveraged totaled $609,661, which he said would be reimbursed to taxpayers.

Solarize Amherst was developed through a community process that involved government representatives, volunteer community members, and technical assistance from the University at Buffalo’s Regional Institute.

According to town officials, the program encouraged residents to take advantage of discounted solar installations as well as a short-term waiver of the electric permit fee, an exclusive offering by the Town of Amherst.

Additionally, town officials said that throughout the summer, town residents were able to attend various outreach events including solar open houses, allowing homeowners who have solar electric at their houses to showcase the systems to neighbors.

Residents interested in a possible installation were able to view what a solar array looks like on the roof as well as how it functions inside the home. Residents with solar electric also detailed their reduced monthly utility bill.

Other outreach included events at the Harlem Road and Clearfield community centers, and volunteers could be spotted at public events such as the popular Music On Main Street weekly concert series as well as local farmers markets.

Solarize Amherst was part of a larger effort to help Amherst achieve the Clean Energy Community designation from New York State and receive a $250,000 grant award for a clean energy project in the town.

Amherst received the designation in June after 10 residents signed contracts to install solar energy through Solarize Amherst.

Other related Clean Energy Communities high-impact actions that the town took were the adoption of the unified solar permit, the purchase of an electric vehicle, and energy code enforcement training for the town’s code officials.

For more information about how to participate in an upcoming Solarize campaign, contact UBRI’s Clean Energy Coordinator Jason Kulaszewski by emailing jasonkul@buffalo.edu.

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