Gov. Dannel P. Malloy helped pitch a deal to New Haven neighbors — the chance to get solar power and cut energy costs, for just $20 a month the first year.
He joined city officials and neighbor environmental groups at Neighborhood Housing Services headquarters Wednesday to announce the deal, which is financed by a public-private partnership between the Connecticut Green Bank and PosiGen Solar Energy and Efficiency.
Malloy touted the “positive impact of solar energy, financed the way we’re able to finance it, installed the way we’re able to install it, actually lowering the cost of homeowners’ operations.”
The deal, dubbed “Solar for All,“offers low- and middle-income homeowners the chance to invest in clean energy, lower their home energy costs and save money in the process of solar installation. PosiGen, the solar company performing the installations, requires no credit checks, income minimum or down payments from its clients.
If more than 50 homeowners sign up for the program before March 31, the $79 monthly cost for solar drops to $20 monthly for one year for the whole group. (Find out more here.)
Connecticut Green Bank, a state-created environmentally oriented lender, invested $5 million in PosiGen, to ensure it can offer as many families as possible low-cost, full-service solar installations, said the bank CEO Brian Garcia.
That service includes a roof assessment, installation, maintenance, insurance and an energy audit — and results in a 6kW solar system, said Tom Neyhart, PosiGen CEO.
“We’re making power, we’re saving power and we’re putting money back into the people’s hands that need it the most. It’s going for school supplies, it’s going for groceries, it’s going for necessities. And that money stays in the community,” he said.
Frank and Paula Panzarella got solar panels on their Beaver Hills home on Norton Street in July 2014 through a company called Sungevity. That company checked their credit score before approving them. The couple had just renovated their roof after Hurricane Sandy blew several shingles off the south side.
That was lucky for them, Paula Panzarella said, since they needed the roof to be in good shape to get approved for the solar panels. Their system is smaller than those PosiGen installs — 5.5kW, not 6 —and the rate is a little lower than the standard $79.
Many of his neighbors around the city are unable to get solar power, because their homes do not get enough sunlight or are otherwise structurally not equipped for the installation, Frank Panzarella said. The New Haven Energy Taskforce is pushing to get shared solar energy, where multiple people would share energy from a publicly-placed set of solar panels, he said. But the state legislature did not pass a bill authorizing shared solar power, instead focusing on two smaller pilot programs.
The New Haven Energy Taskforce — a group of neighbors who lobby around energy issues — will help people “address the barriers that might arise” throughout the process of solar installation, said Annie Harper, a taskforce member. “We want to be an objective third party for people to come with questions if they have concerns,” she said.
James Paley, director of Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS), which helps turn working families into homeowners, said he will include the PosiGen program as an option for new NHS homebuyers.
“We hope other people who purchased houses in the past will receive our e-blasts” referring them to PosiGen, he said.
Henry Dynia, NHS director of design and construction, said that as the organization continues to participate in the state’s energy incentive program, it will be required to prep homes to ease the process for homeowners who want solar installations. So that, “if you want to have solar, it’s easy to do,” he said.