If you’re a homeowner in Asheville, it’s becoming a little easier to equip your residence with solar energy, thanks to a brand-new community-based initiative. A coalition of local organizations is launching Solarize Asheville-Buncombe, a group-purchasing solar campaign that makes solar energy and battery storage more affordable to both homeowners and businesses.
The City of Asheville and Buncombe County have adopted a community-wide goal to be powered by 100 percent renewable energy by 2042. The Solarize coalition – consisting of partners such as Green Built Alliance, Sierra Club WENOCA, Green Opportunities and Hood Huggers International – aims to assist in that goal by reducing barriers and cutting prohibitive costs to solar energy, thus helping both homeowners and businesses to more easily go solar and reduce the carbon footprint of our community.
The Solarize initiative comes at a time when the Asheville green movement continues to gain traction among area residents and businesses, including early-adopter Mosaic Community Lifestyle Realty. Mosaic’s commitment to green development and environmental stewardship is a pillar of the company’s philosophy. By calculating the company’s net carbon output and offsetting it by paying into local green energy projects, Mosaic proactively takes steps to address climate change and has become North Carolina’s first carbon-neutral real estate firm.
Solar benefits for all in Asheville-Buncombe
Going solar decreases energy and economic costs for homeowners, which particularly benefits low- and moderate-income community members. The Solarize initiative aims to create deeper cost reductions for solar energy for these community members via fundraising and financing; Solarize will also assess city data to prioritize community outreach.
Anyone who owns property in Buncombe County can take part in Solarize Asheville-Buncombe. Its campaign model – based on a tiered “bulk”-purchasing platform – has found success in more than 300 communities across the country. The more people contract for their solar installations through the campaign, the more everyone saves.
Unique contribution to equitable workforce
Solarize Asheville-Buncombe is the only program of its kind in the country that goes beyond solar accessibility to focus on equitable workforce development in the green energy industry and affordability initiatives. The group has established a partnership with Green Opportunities, an Asheville-based nonprofit committed to empowering marginalized communities toward sustainable employment. This partnership will help to open up jobs in Buncombe County’s green-energy sector.
Details on tiered pricing, equipment and energy tax credits are still being formulated. If you’re interested in learning more, or to sign up for a free solar evaluation of your property, visit www.solarizeabc.com.
First image caption and credit: Green Built Alliance member SolFarm installs a 7.29 kW hybrid system on the Portwood residence, a modern solar-passive home in Weaverville. MARGARET HESTER PHOTO