Community Environmental Council (CEC) is proud to announce that their Solarize program has reached a major milestone, signing up its 500th solar customer.
Now in its 5th year, the goal of CEC’s Solarize program is to make it easier and more affordable for Tri-Counties home and business owners to go solar, moving our region toward a fossil-free future. The program partners with government and other nonprofit organizations to offer a streamlined, trustworthy process that includes vetted installers, discounted pricing through local solar companies, and free educational community workshops. To date, twenty programs have run in Santa Barbara, Ventura, San Luis Obispo, Kern County, Ojai, Santa Ynez, Carpinteria, and all cities along Route 126.
Solarize has directly led to the generation of 2.5 megawatts of solar power, translating to savings of more than 2,642 tons of carbon dioxide emissions – the equivalent of taking 562 cars off the road. It has also saved customers a total of $2.2 million on their electricity bills.
CEC’s Director of Energy and Climate programs, Jefferson Litten, stated, “We are thrilled at the impact Solarize is creating in our region. With solar prices dropping across the country and research forecasting a staggering 119% increase in U.S solar installations in 2016, programs like ours are catalyzing the clean energy movement.“
Like other successful CEC programs, Solarize focuses on inspiring community action, taking small local steps to create larger regional results. In CEC’s 2007 report, New Energy Direction: a Blueprint for Santa Barbara County, solar was documented as one of the most effective paths forward for clean energy. Solarize and CEC’s strong advocacy have supported the Tri-Counties in achieving one gigawatt of solar, including utility-scale projects designed specifically to feed back into the grid. One gigawatt is enough power to fuel a quarter million homes, and is particularly impressive in light of the fact that the entire United States had just 25 gigawatts of solar installed at the end of 2015.
Fittingly, the 500th customers, Jill and Michael Murray, live in CEC’s hometown of Santa Barbara. Excited about their purchase, Jill shared “Going solar was the dream. With the Solarize program it finally made financial sense.”Now paying just $10/month to Southern California Edison (a minimum amount required for all residents), they are also using solar to charge their all-electric Nissan Leaf. Beyond financial benefits, Jill said she was more comfortable moving forward with the purchase because CEC had vetted and put their name behind the company and products offered through Solarize.
This year’s round of Solarize programs from CEC have come to a close in the cities of Ventura and Santa Barbara, but continue through October in Ojai, Santa Ynez, and along Route 126. To find out about available workshops in these areas and learn more, visit CECSolarize.org.
About Community Environmental Council
Since 1970, CEC has been at the forefront of the environmental movement, leading the Santa Barbara region – and at times California and the nation – in creatively solving some of the toughest environmental problems. Today, CEC pioneers real life solutions in areas with the biggest impact on climate change – most notably energy, transportation and food systems. In addition to public education and advocacy, CEC provides direct support to the community on practical solutions such as driving less, choosing high-efficiency electric vehicles, adding solar to homes, ditching single-use plastic, and making food choices that support the environment.
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