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Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance Announces 2019 Solarize Initiative to Help NKY Residents go Solar

The Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance (GCEA) has announced the launch of its 2019 Solarize campaign.

The annual campaign, now in its fifth year, is designed to bring affordable solar-power solutions to homeowners in Northern Kentucky. Since the initial campaign in 2015, Solarize has provided more than 4,500 homeowners with a free analysis of the solar potential of their homes and helped more than 140 homeowners install solar at their residences.

The Solarize campaign allows area residents to maximize their savings by combining the 30-percent federal tax credit with an additional 15-percent discount offered by the program. This is the last year that property owners can take advantage of the 30-percent tax credit.

The campaign, which will run through June 30, assists homeowners in assessing the solar potential of their home, provides unbiased advice, connects them with qualified solar installers, and offers discounted pricing on high-quality equipment.

“Because the 30-percent federal tax credit for solar installations will expire at the end of this year, more and more people are showing a renewed interest in solar energy,” said GCEA Residential Operations Director Rob McCracken. “Solar installers are telling us that interest in solar is much higher this year than it was last year.”

McCracken said the cost of installing solar panels in the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky region ranges from $13,000 to $21,500 depending on the size of the project. A homeowner who purchases an 8.5 kW system at the approximate cost of $21,500 would receive a $6,300 tax credit and would offset home energy costs by around $1,150 a year.

The federal tax credit can be used in one year or spread across several years. That means the capital investment, which also increases the value of a home, will pay for itself in approximately 11 years – less than half the life of the solar-panel warranties.

“When you think about it, most homeowners are basically ‘renting’ the electricity they get from their utility provider,” McCracken said. “Solar panels allow you to create your own energy instead of buying it from a third party.”

Solar energy remains an attractive, economical option for homeowners

In addition to the 30-percent federal tax credit, a number of factors continue to make installation of solar panels an attractive and economical option for homeowners in 2019:

  • The cost of a solar installation has dropped by nearly 75 percent in the last 10 years.
  • Using the Solarize discount, residents can save around 15 percent off the normal cost of a solar installation; the larger the system, the greater the savings.
  • Today’s solar panels are more visually appealing than those of the past, can be customized to unique roofs, and are more durable, with warranties that now exceed 25 years.
  • The in-house infrastructure needed to support the system is less complicated than in the past and takes up very little space.

Simple process; free solar assessments

Solarize allows homeowners to simply and smoothly navigate the process of adding solar energy to their homes. The first step is to visit the Solarize website. Using a geo-spatial mapping tool, GCEA can analyze the solar potential of a home. Based on the results, they will send information about the costs and benefits associated with installing solar on the home.                                                

If the home is a good candidate for solar energy, then GCEA will put the homeowner in touch with one of its qualified installers who will develop a customized proposal, which includes the recommended size of the solar array and the cost of installation. GCEA also can help homeowners leverage available tax incentives and bulk-purchasing discounts, which will result in reduced installation costs, and provide homeowners with easy access to financing options to pay for the installation.

-Staff report