Solarize Frequently Asked Questions
What happens at the site visit?
Before the site visit, the installer may ask you some questions over the phone or by email about your electricity usage, the orientation of your home, the age of your roof, whether there are large trees near your house, etc. The installer may also look at your home using satellite imagery.
If the installer believes you may have a viable site, they will schedule a site visit. Your site visit will be free and will usually take between 30 and 60 minutes. The installer will take pictures and take measurements related to solar exposure. The installer may also want to look at your electric meter, past electric bills, and sometimes also your roof rafters if there is any question of whether they can support the additional weight of a solar array.
If your site is better suited for a ground-mounted array, the installer will discuss possible locations with you.
After the site visit, the installer will send you a detailed quote.
How much does it cost to go solar?
Out of 181 contracts for solar signed through Solarize Upper Valley in 2015 (including many towns across the Upper Valley) the average gross cost (before incentives) was $23,810, and the average size was 6.01 kW. Of course, cost and system size will vary from house to house.
What rebates/credits are available?
The federal government offers a 30% federal income tax credit to homeowners who install residential solar arrays. Talk to your installer and consult a tax professional to determine how to apply.
Incentive programs in Vermont and New Hampshire can change from year to year. Ask you installer about current offerings.
How long does the process take, from site visit to solar installation?
The process can be as fast as a couple of months. It can take a few weeks to schedule a site visit and decide whether or not to go solar. If you decide to move ahead, it will take a week or two to secure state incentives and approval from your utility before your installer can start on your installation. The installation itself will take 1-3 days, after which your installer will walk you through everything you need to know about your new system, and your utility company will come plug your system into the grid so you can start saving.
What if I rent my home?
Talk with your landlord or purchase a share in a community-scale solar project located within your electric utility’s service territory (only available in Vermont as of Dec 2016).
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AmeriCorps VISTA Energy Savings Outreach Specialist
— Julia Guy, AmeriCorps VISTA Energy Savings Outreach Specialist
Julia Guy is the AmeriCorps VISTA Energy Savings Outreach Specialist at Vital Communities. A frequent visitor, Julia is glad to make the Upper Valley a home. Originally from Binghamton, New York, Julia graduated from Skidmore College in 2019 with a Bachelors of Science in Theatre and a minor in Environmental Studies. Before moving to the Upper Valley, Julia was working for a low- waste, plastic-free home goods brand in Brooklyn. When she’s not fighting climate change, you can find Julia hiking and afterward indulging in a soft pretzel with plenty of mustard.
Energy Program Manager
— Sarah Brock, Energy Program Manager
Sarah Brock joined Vital Communities in 2013 as our Energy Program Manager. Through her work Sarah provides support for our region’s 40+ local energy committees, engaging with dozens of volunteers and clean energy businesses in programs like Solarize Upper Valley, Weatherize Upper Valley, and the Upper Valley Green Real Estate Network. Prior to joining the Vital Communities team, Sarah was an Environmental Philanthropy Associate with the High Meadows Fund, a supporting organization of the Vermont Community Foundation. Sarah lives in Warner, New Hampshire, with her husband and daughter. When she's not busy advocating for energy efficiency, Sarah enjoys playing the trombone and taking walks in her backwoods to look for signs of New Hampshire's abundant wildlife.