Wanted: 40 Homes and Businesses to Solarize Syracuse

Jul 28, 2014

Syracuse and some nearby town residents of Dewitt, Manlius and Onondaga have the opportunity to grab some buying power for solar panel installations at their homes or businesses.  The new initiative 'Solarize Syracuse' is looking for 40 participants to get the panels installed now through September 30th. Jessica Azulay says a local company will handle the installations.

Solarize Syracuse members from left to right: Chris Carrick, Sam Gordon, Jessica Azulay, Syracuse Common Councilor Kathleen Joy and Justin Williams of CNY Solar.
Credit John Smith/WAER News

“Because CNY Solar is a local company and many of its employees live in our own communities, this is also an opportunity to support our local economy and good local jobs. Starting on Thursday, we will be holding nine community workshops and we encourage everyone who is interested in this program to attend.” 

According to Chris Carrick from the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board, solar grew at a rapid pace in the first quarter of 2014. Sales were up by 80 percent over the same period in 2013. Carrick says installing solar panels has other benefits.

A solar panel and Jessica Azulay (right).
Credit John Smith/WAER News

“In fact, we try to tell people that solar is not an investment in the value of your property and in your household budget. A typical solar PV (photovoltaic) system can generate a return on your investment of ten percent or more. That’s a great investment if you compare if you compare what available on the stock market or elsewhere.”  

Carrick add the return on investment for solar energy depends on how much people are paying for electricity now.  Peter Wirth installed 18 solar panels at his Fayetteville home almost two years ago and it’s really paid off.

“I’m using less fossil fuels and it produces almost a 100 percent of my power. So, our utility bills are quite low and in 9 ½ years I’ll be getting free electricity for at least 15 years.” 

Fayetteville, NY resident Peter Wirth explains the benefits of solar power. His home has 18 panels.
Credit John Smith/WAER News

Wirth adds there's both State and Federal tax rebates for installing solar and a rebate through NYSERDA that pays the contractor. He estimates the total cost of the job was slightly more than $20,000 but, after the rebates his solar installation cost him $6,300. Wirth welcomes people to take a look for themselves at 113 Cammot Lane in Fayetteville, NY. More details about the program, which offers purchase and lease options, can be found here: Solarize Syracuse. The first workshop will be held this Thursday from 6-7 PM at the City Hall Commons Atrium located at 201 East Washington Street in Syracuse.