Solarize Decatur-DeKalb

Solarize Decatur-DeKalb

By Solarize Decatur-DeKalb Coalition


Solarize Decatur-DeKalb is a solar PV bulk-purchasing program that helps homeowners, businesses and nonprofits in Decatur and DeKalb County save on the cost of solar — the more that participate, the greater the savings!

Learn More About Your Solarize Contractors, Tiered Pricing Schedules and System Components:


Residential Solar  Commercial Solar

  • Signed up: 850

    Committed

      Residential

    • 620.1kW
    • Tier 6 ($2.70/watt)
    • CO2 Avoided = 1,213,165 lbs annually

      Commercial

    • 23.7kW
    • Tier 1
    • CO2 Avoided = 46,360 lbs annually

  • 83

    Days to Go

Contract Deadline May 1st

The Enrollment Period is now Closed

End of Program Note

Once enrolled, then you're locked into Solarize Decatur-DeKalb discount pricing, materials, and will receive a free solar evaluation. Enrollments spiked at the end of the enrollment period. We understand going solar is an important decision and comes with a few approvals that need to be taken care of before making a commitment. That's why we allow up to 90 days (May 1, 2017) for participants to get approvals on permitting, financing, historic district, and/or HOA, if applicable and make a final decision. After that, discount pricing goes away!

If you preregistered prior to our launch date of September 1, 2016, we still need a bit more information to complete your enrollment.  To know if your enrollment is complete, you would have received an email confirmation entitled: THANK YOU FOR SIGNING UP FOR SOLARIZE DECATUR-DEKALB! and a representative from the selected installer has attempted to contact you to start on your free solar evaluation. If you are not sure, please contact us at admin@solarizedecatur-dekalb.com.  


WELCOME TO SOLARIZE DECATUR-DEKALB!

Interested in going solar? Want to save money and have the support of experts in installing the right system for you? Working together, we can make Decatur and DeKalb County a leader in solar energy.

Solarize Decatur-DeKalb is a community-based solar PV bulk-purchasing campaign that makes solar more affordable and accessible for the citizens of Decatur and DeKalb County -- the more that participate, the greater the savings! The organizers of the campaign sought competitive bids from the local solar community to ensure best-in-class materials are installed by qualified solar professionals for the lowest price.


Solarize Basics

Here is what you can expect from Solarize Decatur-DeKalb:

  • Savings: 25% savings through bulk-purchase of materials, focus on a limited geographic area, and tiered pricing schedule. At Tier 6 pricing ($2.70/watt), a comparable quality system outside of this Solarize program would cost approximately $3.60/watt. More about tiered pricing schedule below.
  • Vetted Contractor and Materials: Through a competitive bid process, Solarize includes the selection of a qualified solar contractors and best-in-class materials so you don’t have to.
  • Free Solar Evaluations: Solarize Decatur-DeKalb includes a free solar evaluation including preliminary site design, energy usage profile, and financial analysis.
  • Education and Outreach: Several free workshops and events will be held throughout the duration of the campaign to inform the public of the benefits of solar. You will meet the contractors, learn about materials, and ask questions.
  • Limited Time Campaign: to generate inertia and motivate procrastinators. Once campaign ends, discount pricing goes away.

Selected contractors are: Creative Solar USA for residential and Hannah Solar for commercial installations.


In The News


Tiered Pricing Schedule

Now you don't have to worry if you're getting the best value for your solar system! With Solarize, pricing and materials are determined upfront so you know exactly what you're getting into. Solarize Decatur-DeKalb has selected residential and commercial solar contractors through a competitive bid process to ensure the residents of Decatur-DeKalb get best-in-class materials at the best possible price. Then through bulk-purchasing and intense outreach efforts for a limited time, you can save even more. The more Decatur-DeKalb residents that participate, the greater the savings.

Residential Pricing

Note: Tiered pricing is for standard rooftop installation. Comparable system outside this program: $3.60/watt.
Additional expenses may apply depending on complexity of installation.

Commercial Pricing

Note: Tiered pricing is for standard rooftop installation.
Additional expenses may apply depending on complexity of installation.

Solarize Decatur-DeKalb isn't just for homes. This program will help commercial and nonprofit entities go solar as well! Installation of commercial systems are very different from residential so Solarize Decatur-DeKalb sought competitive bids for businesses and nonprofit entities with a different tiered pricing schedule and options for Georgia SEPAs (Solar Energy Procurement Agreement). 

rooftop-panels

Solarize Benefits

Residents:

  • Removes barriers and uncertainty
  • Streamlined process
  • Free solar evaluation
  • Reduced cost of solar

Contractors:

  • Reduced customer acquisition cost
  • Improved permit process
  • Limited geographic area
  • Lasting community relationship

Communities:

  • Economic development
  • Creates local jobs
  • Reduced electricity costs
  • Clean renewable energy

Solarize Financing

Interested in financing your solar project with little to no money down and saving money from day one? The right financing options make it possible! Solarize Decatur-DeKalb is pleased to present Suntrust Bank: Decatur, Greensky, and Bond Federal Credit Union as trusted financing sources for the Solarize Decatur-DeKalb campaign.


Contact

If you have any questions or interested in volunteering, please feel free to contact us:

Email: admin@solarizedecatur-dekalb.com
Phone: (678) 801-8965
Address: 708 Church St, Decatur, GA 30030


decatur-program-logos

Sponsored by: Decatur Environmental Sustainability Board, Environment Georgia, Georgia Interfaith Power & Light, Georgia Sierra Club, Solar CrowdSource, Hannah Solar and Creative Solar USA.

The Project FAQs

Thank you for visiting the Frequently Asked Questions for Solarize Decatur-DeKalb. You will likely find the answer to your question here, however, if not, please email us at admin@solarizedecatur-dekalb.com We will answer your question and add it here for others who may have the same question.


Program FAQs

What is Solarize Decatur-DeKalb exactly? Who is behind it?

Solarize Decatur-DeKalb is a solar PV bulk-purchasing program designed to make solar more affordable and accessible to homes, businesses, and nonprofits in Decatur and DeKalb County.  The main components of the program include:

  • Savings:  25% savings through bulk-purchase of materials, focus on a limited geographic area, and tiered pricing schedule. At Tier 6 pricing ($2.70/watt), a comparable quality system outside of this Solarize program would cost approximately $3.60/watt. More about tiered pricing schedule below.
  • Vetted contractor and materials: through a competitive bid process, Solarize includes the selection of a qualified solar contractors and best-in-class materials so you don’t have to.
  • Free solar evaluations: selected contractors will provide a free, personalized solar evaluation including preliminary site design, energy usage profile, and financial analysis including incentives.
  • Education and outreach: several workshops and events will be held throughout the duration of the program to educate the public of the benefits of solar, meet the contractor, learn about materials, and ask questions.
  • Limited time campaign: to generate inertia and motivate procrastinators. Once the campaign ends, discount pricing goes away.

Solarize Decatur-DeKalb is brought to you by the Decatur Environmental Sustainability Board, Environment Georgia, Georgia Interfaith Power & Light, Georgia Sierra Club, and Solar CrowdSource.

When will the campaign begin?

September 1, 2016.

Who can participate in Solarize Decatur-DeKalb?

Solarize Decatur-DeKalb is open to all residents, businesses, nonprofits and governmental entities within the City of Decatur and greater DeKalb County area.

My property is not within the Decatur-DeKalb area. Can I still participate?

If your property is not located within the Decatur-DeKalb area, you may still be able to participate. Sign up for the campaign and we will consider each property on a case-by-case basis. The more people in your area interested in participating the more likely we can bring you into this campaign or start a new campaign in your area.

I signed up for Solarize Decatur-DeKalb. Now what?

Before the campaign begins, you can sign up to receive news and important updates. Once we officially launch, you will soon receive a “Now let’s get started” email containing a link to a form we ask you to submit so we can get started on your free solar evaluation. We cannot provide a solar evaluation without submitting this form.

I want to participate but I do not have access to a computer or email address.

You can still participate without a computer or email address. Just call us at 678-801-8965 or come to one of our workshops scheduled throughout the campaign. Either way we will help get you signed up and on your way.

How long do I have to sign up for the campaign?

Solarize Decatur-DeKalb enrollment period will be for 4 months starting September 1st.  Free solar evaluations and discounted pricing will no longer be available after the enrollment period ends January 31, 2017.

I do not have past utility bills. What can I do?

Request a record of your last 12 months utility bill statements from your utility company. They will quickly accommodate your request via email in most cases. We can work with just a month or two of bill history but the more data we have, the more accurate the solar evaluation will be.

I have my last 12 months utility bills but not in digital form or I cannot otherwise upload my document. What can I do?

If you cannot upload your last 12 months utility bills for whatever reason, there are several ways to get the information to us so we can get started:

  • Bring copies of your bills to one of several workshops scheduled over the course of the campaign. We will take it from there! Check the Updates page frequently for event dates, times, and locations.
  • Mail a copy of your bills to 708 Church Street, Decatur, GA 30030, Attention: Solarize Decatur-DeKalb

I want to go solar but I don’t have the upfront cost of a system readily available. Are financing options available?

Yes, Solarize Decatur-DeKalb is working with finance companies to provide participants with several financing options. The selected contractor will work with each participant to get set up.


Solar Basics and Solar System Related FAQs

What are some advantages to going solar?

  • An investment with attractive, guaranteed returns
  • Freedom from future energy rate hikes
  • Increased property value
  • Environmental stewardship
  • Raise your profile in the community (marketability)
  • Monitor your system from your smart phone or computer
  • Solar works during peak hours (Great for TOU rate plans!)
  • Support free-market in the energy sector

How does solar energy work?

Sunlight makes contact with a solar panel to produce direct current (DC) electricity. The DC electricity is then sent to an inverter and converted into alternative current (AC) electricity so it can be used in your home. The AC electricity can be used instantly on premises or transferred onto the grid.

Will my system produce energy on cloudy days?

Yes, but less than on sunny days. Depending on cloud coverage, your system may require a little more energy from the grid on cloudy days.

Will my system produce power if there is a blackout?

Without a backup power source such as batteries or generator, grid-tied solar PV systems will not operate when the power grid is down. This safety requirement, called “anti-islanding” allows utility linemen to safely repair power lines during a power outage. You may choose to add a battery backup to your solar system to keep the lights on during a blackout. Ask your our pre-selected installer for details on battery backup systems.

Where and how can solar be installed on my property?

Solar can be installed:

  • on the roof (flat roof, pitched roof, shingle, metal, shake, slate and more)
  • on the ground using a concrete foundation
  • on a pole in a concrete foundation
  • as an awning over a window or door
  • as a carport shade/weather canopy (can be sized for one car or hundreds of car)
  • as the canopy for a pergola or a breezeway

(Note: the pricing for Solarize Decatur-DeKalb is for a standard asphalt shingle roof installation)

How do I know if my site is suitable for solar?

Solar panels work best when facing a southern direction. They can be ground mounted or roof mounted and there should be little or no shading from trees, buildings, or fixtures to optimize output. The first step in the Solarize Decatur-DeKalb program is to sign up for a free solar evaluation. The selected installer will evaluate your site and help determine if solar is suitable for your location.
For roof installations: The roof should be in good condition and be structurally able to accommodate the additional weight of the solar panels. If your roof shows noticeable deterioration or needs additional structural support, these conditions will need to be addressed before installing solar panels. The selected installer will help you make this decision.
For ground mounted systems: If your roof is not suitable for solar panels, you may also consider a ground mounted system. It doesn’t have to be placed right next to your premises, but rather can be situated in the sunniest part of your property.

If your property is still not suitable for solar, not to worry. We will keep you posted of Community Solar programs available in your area.

What size system should I install?

Your pre-selected installer will provide a comprehensive assessment of your specific energy needs by taking a look at your utility bills and sizing a system appropriately.

What is net metering (aka bi-directional metering)?

If your system generates more electricity than you use at a given time, the meter will “spin backwards” and the utility will provide a credit on your bill. In Georgia, we have bi-directional metering (as opposed to net metering) which keeps track of how much energy is sent back to the grid. Currently, Georgia Power will pay “avoided cost” of approximately 4.3-4.5¢/kWh for energy you send back to the grid. This could change soon. The amount Georgia Power will pay for your extra energy will be decided by the Public Service Commission in August, 2016. Call and email your PSC commissioners and tell them to make Georgia Power pay the True Value of Solar.

Will I still receive a monthly electric bill?

Yes, you will still receive a monthly bill for any energy you use to supplement your solar array at night or cloudy days. The amount of your bill will depend on how much electricity you use and how much you send back to the grid.

How much does solar cost?

The cost will be determined by the tiered pricing structure provided by your pre-selected installer. The more people that participate in the program, the lower the pricing will be. The example below is for a 5kW residential system which is the average size for homes in Georgia.

Commercial (and nonprofit) systems are very different from residential with commercial systems generally costing less per watt due to the size and scope of these systems. Therefore Solarize Decatur-DeKalb will take an innovative approach by separating residential and commercial pricing to reflect this difference.

Will solar increase the value of my property?

Typically, properties with solar will sell for a premium over homes without solar. This is due to the fact that unlike electricity rates, solar rates will never go up. Thus, a solar reduces the cost of owning and operating your property. Once the system has paid for itself, the electricity it generates is absolutely free!

Can my Homeowner’s Association prevent me from installing a solar array on my property?

Some HOAs may require prior approval from the HOA Board of Directors before installing a solar system on your roof – particularly if the system will be visible from the street. We recommend that you review your HOA’s covenants to determine if there are any restrictions in place. Your pre-selected installer will help troubleshoot any problems you have obtaining approval from your HOA.

Should I have solar panels installed on an older roof?

We don’t advise installations on a roof that shows signs of old age. The solar panels will provide a degree of protection from the elements but when it does come time to replace the roof the solar panels will have to be removed and then re-installed which will cost extra.

Can hail damage solar panels?

This has never been much of an issue for the solar industry. Standard tier-one solar panels use tempered glass and can withstand bombardment from billiard ball size hail at very high speeds.

What happens when I move and I have solar installed and how much does it add to property value?

Having solar installed will increase the value of your property, the amount of which is calculated based on the value of the electricity the system will produce over its warranted life. When you sell your home you may also elect to have the system removed and take it with you to your next home.

How long does it take to pay off?

ROIs (return on investment) vary depending on incentives available and the rate your currently pay the utility company. Typically, returns for residential ranges from 8-12 years but can be higher or lower depending on the site specifics. Returns for commercial range from 4-8 years.

How long does the system last? What warranties are available?

  • Panels: some of the very first solar panels made in the ’50s are still producing power after 60 years, and they’re still at about 80% of their original power ratings. Solar panel’s decrease in output over time but the effect plateaus around the 80% mark. Solarize Decatur-DeKalb requires the pre-selected contractor to use panels with a 25 year warranty.
  • Inverters: inverter types vary as well as their warranties. String inverters come with a standard 10 year warranty and can be extended to 20 or 25 years for a few hundred dollars. Micorinverters typically come with a 25 year warranty.
  • Workmanship: Solarize Decatur-DeKalb will require bidding contractors to disclose their workmanship warranty in their bid. The number of years and what it includes will be considered in the selection process.

How much maintenance is required?

Very little. Solar systems are passive with no moving parts. Panels should be cleaned and electrical connections torqued every 5 years. You will be able to monitor the performance of your system in real-time on your computer or smart phone and will receive alerts should something go wrong.

Can I go off the grid?

Off-grid battery backup systems are achievable but it can get expensive. You may want to limit your consumption of electricity to the essentials e.g. refrigerator, freezer, well pump, lights, fan, etc. The pre-selected contractor can add essential items to a separate distribution panel that will connect to the battery backup system.

Why doesn't solar provide any backup power without batteries?

When the grid power drops out the system is required to shut down production per the UL 1741 requirement which prevents inverters from back feeding the power lines during grid interruption. However with batteries and a transfer switch you can have reliable, sun-fueled power during a grid outage without back feeding.
If the panels get damaged will my insurance cover the repairs?

Typically your homeowner’s insurance will protect your solar array the same way it protects your home.

Will the pre-selected contractor be insured?

Yes, Solarize Decatur-DeKalb will require the selected contractor to carry a general liability policy for all damages up $2,000,000 and have workman’s comp coverage.

Updates

Stay up to date with Solarize Decatur-DeKalb! Please click any event from the calendar below to see more information.

2 Comments

  1. Alex Sherrill

    Maybe you are overwhelmed with emails but I sent and email on 8/30 and have not received a reply.

  2. Jacqueline Macomber

    I have entered the requested information for the average power bills and kW used for this summer and past winter but was unable to submit it, apparently because I was unable to upload my power bills. I guess I will have to copy the bills and mail them. My average monthly summer power bill was $63.85/ 470 kW. My average monthly winter power bill was $153.55/ 1376 kW. I am interested in residential solar. My sign up number is 286. I was unable to attend the Sept. 1st opening workshop. When will there be another workshop?
    Jacqueline Macomber

Comments are closed.