Since the July 2011 initiative to fund clean energy in Connecticut through the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority, the state’s private and publicly funded clean-energy initiatives have skyrocketed. The state’s Clean Energy Fund drives investment in the state becoming energy independent, using only clean-energy options. For families, this means it’s easier than ever to get on par with the green movement. Information abounds, as do incentives.
1. Find the discounts. In March, state funding became available, aimed at lower to lower-middle income homeowners, for leasing rather than purchasing solar energy improvements to homes. While the costs of actually purchasing solar services may seem prohibitive, government incentives, including tax deductions, make them more cost-effective and pay dividends for homeowners at all income levels.
2. Know where you stand financially. At this stage, solar is financially viable for Connecticut homeowner’s electricity and household hot water. The installation of a photovoltaic system for a typical two-bedroom home before federal and state incentives runs in the area of $2,500 to $30,000, depending on the scale of the project. Switching over a water heater, for example, is cheaper than transitioning the entire house. Given Connecticut’s climate and the availability of sunlight, homeowners can count on a full-scale solar system providing as much as 90 percent of their electric needs.
3. Know the rules and restrictions. It is still necessary to be on the electric grid as both a backup and potential supplement. Any solar system that doesn’t come preassembled should be installed by a licensed professional. A solar hot water system offers the cheapest, easiest transition, providing 70 percent percent of household hot water needs.
4. Research unique options for your home and life. Aside from solar-powered hot water, the one area homeowners should consider is solar heating of larger outdoor swimming pools, which has become economically viable recently. Other gadgets are less likely to save as much, but battery chargers using photovoltaic cells work for everything from age-old calculators to iPads.
Here are some Connecticut area businesses that may be able to help you get started.
Anthem Solar Home Improvement
804 N Farms Rd.
Wallingford, CT 06492-2544
Anthem is a fairly new installation firm in central Connecticut, but comes with an A rating from the Better Business Bureau.
Evergreen Energy, LLC
P.O. Box 703
Southington, CT 06489
Evergreen Energy has a fairly extensive track record (in business since 2006) for this brand new industry.
4 Oxford Rd.
Milford, CT 06460
Sunlight provides grid-tied solar electricity and thermal hot water for both homes and businesses.
For more great tricks, tips and advice about your home, visit CBSConnecticut.com/YourHome.
Steve Alexander holds undergraduate degrees in Political Science and Psychology; did graduate work and taught as a Teaching Fellow as a specialist in Arms Control and Disarmament for Boston Universitys Political Science Department; and spent a 30 year career as a human service professional–a counselor, administrator and advocate for people afflicted with mental disabilities. His work can be found at Examiner.com.