Sunlight might soon power 100 Carrboro homes as a solar energy initiative launches, echoing similar projects across the state.
Solarize Carrboro is a solar energy project meant to reduce the cost and difficulty of installing solar panels in residential areas.
More than 50 Carrboro homeowners have indicated interest in having solar panels installed.
“It pays for itself, your electricity bill is lower and you’re helping with climate change,” said Carrboro resident Sally Robertson, who signed up. “Increasingly it makes sense not only for environmentalists, but for anybody just economically.”
Robertson said a barrier is the initial cost of building solar panels.
“If you don’t have the money up front and can’t qualify for a loan, it might be hard to get into,” said Robertson, who also works with the energy organization N.C. WARN. “It’s still expensive, even though it’s a lot cheaper than it used to be.”
Rob Pinder, the leader of Solarize Carrboro, said the average cost for solar panels on a home is about $15,000, but the project hopes to reduce that to $5,000 with tax breaks and discounts. Solarize Carrboro is currently accepting applications from solar installers it may contract to provide the panel installations.
The project is modeled after the first solarize project in Portland, Oregon, in 2009.
To reduce solar panel installation costs, Solarize Carrboro partners with local solar businesses to offer homeowners group discounts on the panels. The project aims to have 100 homeowners sign up by its official launch event in April so the panels can be installed by year’s end.