Do you have an interest-even a remote one-in generating electricity on your own property via a solar-electric (or photovoltaic) system, and thereby lowering your carbon footprint, saving energy, and saving money?
If the answer is yes-or even maybe-then plan to drop in at the May 4 “Solar Saturday” event in Andover, being offered by the Andover Energy Group, between 10 AM and 2 PM, in the meeting room in the Town Office Building at 31 School Street. During that time, you’ll be able to:
- learn about Solarize Kearsarge, a six-town volunteer project (including Andover, New London, Newbury Sutton, Warner, and Wilmot) now underway that is offering tiered installation pricing, with costs decreasing as more neighbors sign a contract by June 30 with Granite State Solar, a Bow-based solar installer selected by the volunteer team after a competitive application process
- discuss the advantages of solar electricity with several satisfied Andover property-owners
- pick up directions for visiting a number of local homes with operating solar systems on their roofs or grounds, also between 10 AM and 2 PM
- talk with a representative from Granite State Solar about feasibility issues, pricing, financing, and timing
- schedule a free site visit to your property by the installer to determine whether solar is right for your home, and receive a free estimate for system size, costs, and potential savings
- and, as an added attraction, take a good look at several all-electric and hybrid vehicles lined up in the parking area in front of the Town Office Building
The Solarize Kearsarge project is part of a larger initiative led by Vital Communities, a Vermont-based nonprofit, to help homeowners across the Upper Valley go solar. In 2014 and 2015, 370 homes were solarized in 25 Upper Valley towns thanks to various Solarize campaigns, a model that has since been successfully copied by communities across Maine and New Hampshire. One of those projects focused on Andover, New London and Wilmot.
Partly as a result of these efforts, Andover now has more than 60 separate solar-electric installations.
The Solarize campaign follows on the heels of the Weatherize Kearsarge project, also coordinated by Vital Communities. That project offered residents of the same six towns an opportunity to have their homes weather-sealed and insulated by experienced area contractors at reduced costs, often with financial assistance. The opportunity to participate in that project ended in late March.
The Andover Energy Group, composed of several local residents interested in alternative energy and energy efficiency, has guided all these activities at the local level. It has also played a prominent role in improving the comfort and energy efficiency of the Town Office Building via a year-long project that included weatherization, a solar-electric system, and the installation of air-source heat pumps to replace an oil heating system.