FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — JULY 3, 2013 –
By Matt Rexroad
Yolo County Supervisor
Energy independence means different things to different people and no energy source will better help residents hedge against rising electricity costs and move from dirty sources of energy more than solar. It is a domestic, reliable, renewable and abundant solution.
On this Independence Day, consider this: enough solar energy hits the U.S. each hour to power our nation for a year.
In 2008 local governments and other organizations including school districts and universities joined the Yolo County Climate Change Compact. These jurisdictions, including Yolo County and the cities of Davis, Winters, Woodland and West Sacramento pledged to take steps to offer programs that engaged citizens in reducing climate change through energy conservation and renewable energy solutions like solar.
If you’ve been thinking about putting solar on your roof, or fixing those leaky windows and ducts, but were put off by the cost, throughout the month of July the Yolo Climate Compact is providing homeowners with an opportunity to learn if these solutions are right for their home through a limited time program called Energy Benefits Yolo.
Energy Benefits Yolo is a new group discount program for energy efficiency upgrades and solar installations led by the Yolo Climate Compact and the non-profit ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability USA. By pooling buying power of the community, the program offers residents the ability to add solar energy to their homes at prices that are 20% lower than the average cost of solar in Yolo County.
The program also helps homeowners by taking the guesswork out of selecting a reputable vendor, as it uses certified contractors that went through a vetting and approval process. According to Tom Stallard, a member of the Woodland city council “I used the program to install solar on my house and have been impressed with the results and want others to know about this opportunity.”
The Yolo Climate Compact’s motivation for the program is to encourage residents to at least consider energy efficiency upgrades and solar energy for their home. “Solar energy is a great way to stabilize your energy costs for the next 25 years,” reports Yolo Energy Watch Program Manager John-Mott Smith.
Summer necessities in Yolo County like air conditioning and pool pumps can add significant cost to electric bills. Installing new insulation and harnessing solar power is a great way for families throughout our community to become energy independent and live comfortably year round without spending a fortune. The onsite solar assessment is free (electricity and solar hot water), and the onsite energy efficiency assessment is discounted to $99 for most homes (normally $500).
As the Chair of the Yolo Climate Compact, I am proud to champion this program along with the Mayors of Davis, Winters, Woodland and West Sacramento. To date over 220 residents have participated in Energy Benefits Yolo. Join your neighbors and get signed up to receive a no-obligation assessment by July 31.
Copyright News-Ledger 2013