Hanover makes push to double number of homes using solar panels

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 6/25/2019 10:06:42 PM
Modified: 6/25/2019 10:06:39 PM

HANOVER — Town officials launched a new campaign last week seeking to double the number of Hanover homes utilizing solar panels.

Solarize Hanover 2.0 will match area solar installers with homeowners looking to adopt the technology before the reduction of federal tax incentives next year. The move also is expected to contribute to Hanover’s sustainable energy goals.

“Solar is very much an important part of our Ready for 100 commitment,” said Town Manager Julia Griffin, referring to Hanover’s 2017 pledge to convert to 100% renewable energy for electricity, heating and transportation by 2050.

There are 125 residential solar systems in Hanover, meaning about 6% of single-family, detached homes are generating solar electricity, the town reported during its annual energy forum in April.

About 62 of those units were installed during Solarize Hanover, a 2014-2015 effort led by the White River Junction nonprofit Vital Communities. Over a three-year period, the organization mounted similar campaigns that saw 370 homes across the Upper Valley purchase panels.

“We loved the solarize program that Vital Communities ran so much that we thought ‘You know what, let’s try to do our own homegrown program,’ ” Griffin said.

The town chose four companies — Catamount Solar, Solaflect Energy, ReVision Energy and Norwich Solar Technologies — to connect with homeowners to evaluate properties for either rooftop or ground-mounted solar. All four were chosen because of their record working with Hanover residents, Griffin said.

Residential solar arrays typically cost between $22,000 and $24,000, which can be offset by a 30% federal tax credit, bringing the price down to between $15,400 and $16,800, according to the Sustainable Hanover Committee. The time from an initial site visit to turning a solar system on can take three months.

The new push to adopt solar technology comes as the federal government readies to reduce the tax credit, which will drop to 26% next year and be phased out by 2022.

Many people are considering solar because of the soon-to-be cut incentives, Kim Quirk, the Enfield branch manager for ReVision Energy, said Tuesday. People are also more accepting of solar than they were 10 years ago, she said.

Quirk said the new Solarize effort will give people another chance to explore panels. Unlike the initial Vital Communities campaign, vendors will be made available for years rather than months.

“After the first round, I heard from people who would say ‘Oh, I’m sorry I missed out,’ ” Quirk said.

An open house introducing Solarize partner companies to Hanover residents will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Richard W. Black Community Center. More information on the campaign is at www.hanovernh.org/solarize.

Tim Camerato can be reached at tcamerato@vnews.com or 603-727-3223.

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