‘Solarize Sumter’ to launch April 2

Published 5:06 pm Friday, March 29, 2019

SUMTER COUNTY — Sumter County residents will soon have a new option to power their homes and businesses. The coalition for Solarize Middle Georgia is holding a Solarize Sumter  Kickoff Event, including a workshop and information session, from 6:30-8 p.m. April 2 in Americus. The workshop will take place at the Sumter County Agricultural Center, 127 William Bowen Pointe. Local area residents are all invited to attend. Solarize Sumter runs for three months, through June 30. This event is brought to you by Sustainable Sumter and Keep Americus Beautiful.

Solarize Sumter is a public awareness campaign to learn about solar opportunities that didn’t exist until recently. This includes an opportunity for a free solar assessment on your home or business, and a way to potentially save money on your utility bills. There is absolutely no financial obligation or requirement to purchase a solar system. Should a family or business decide to go solar, what Solarize Sumter offers is bulk-purchasing power, in addition to the 30 percent federal tax credit, that will begin to phase out after 2019. The bulk-purchase model offers residents additional savings over those who install outside of the solarize program.

Solarize Sumter, part of Solarize Middle Georgia, is the first Solarize campaign in Georgia to outreach to an entire region, including over twelve counties, and thirty-plus cities and towns, surrounding Macon, Warner Robins, and now Americus. Prior campaigns have outreached to one city and/or one city and county.

Additional public meetings, workshops, and lunch and learn opportunities will be held during the campaign. The schedule of meetings and workshops will be publicized at the Solarize Sumter webpage:  www.solarizesumter.com, and through social and traditional media channels.

According to Aemricus Mayor Barry Blount, “Solarize Sumter is a good way to learn and spread the word about solar, and work to improve our state’s already good ranking of 11th in the nation.” He continued, “We have citizens and businesses that may find solar a good fit for reducing their overall cost of energy. The cost of solar has dropped dramatically since 2008, and bulk purchasing, as well as the 30 percent federal tax credit, create even more incentive for our residents to check it out.”

Ray Clark, senior advisor to the elected officials of the Middle Georgia Clean Air Coalition (MGCAC) added, “Solarize Middle Georgia is an important partner to MGCAC. While all the partners in the Coalition make significant contributions to improving air quality in the region, Solarize Middle Georgia is unique in that it offers every single household in the region an opportunity to play a role in reducing air pollution.”

Creative Solar USA, Inc. (Creative Solar), the solar installer, was vetted by the Middle Georgia Clean Air Coalition’s, Solarize Middle Georgia Steering Committee. Creative Solar, based in Kennesaw, is a turn-key provider of solar power and related energy management services for the residential and commercial sectors. Creative Solar begins with a feasibility assessment and ends with interconnection to the grid. Creative Solar was the chosen residential installer for Solarize Decatur-DeKalb, Solarize Atlanta and Solarize Carrollton-Carroll. Creative Solar has completed over 500 residential installations totaling over 3,300 KW (3.3 MW) and 65 commercial installations totaling over 7 MW with more being installed daily.

Georgia ranks 11th in the nation for installed solar capacity but most of the energy we use in our homes still comes from coal, gas and nuclear power plants. Community Solarize programs are working to change that. Prior Solarize programs include Tybee Island, Savannah, Athens, Decatur/DeKalb, Dunwoody, Atlanta, Carrollton-Carroll, and  Newton-Morgan. Over half of the rooftop solar capacity in Georgia has been generated through Solarize programs. Solarize campaigns are supported by the U. S. Department of Energy.

Additional partners or “Ambassadors” for Solarize Middle Georgia, and Solarize Sumter include Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful, Keep Americus Beautiful, NewTown Macon, Altamaha Riverkeeper,  The Eatonton-Putnam Chamber of Commerce, the Forsyth-Monroe County Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce, the Forsyth-Monroe County Chamber of Commerce, The Milledgeville-Baldwin County Chamber of Commerce, the Perry Area Chamber of Commerce, Roberta-Crawford County Chamber of Commerce, the Sumter County Chamber of Commerce, Sustainable Sumter and the Twiggs County Chamber of Commerce.