Solar panels

A solar panel roof installation goes up on the home of Todd Paris. Courtesy Solarize Fairbanks

Solarize Fairbanks kicks off its third year of bringing together Interior neighbors, businesses and community spaces to purchase bulk solar for a group discount. Interior communities outside of Fairbanks, including Solarize Denali, are invited to tune in to this kickoff event as well.

This is a community-led solar initiative that aims to make solar energy and energy efficiency more affordable and accessible in Interior Alaska.

It does this by signing up residential homes and businesses to install solar panels or to participate in an energy efficiency audit. The campaign leverages group-purchasing power: Solarizers purchase solar systems in bulk for significantly less money than the typical market rate by creating a steady stream of purchases and installations. Essentially, the more people who participate, the bigger the discount for each installation.

More information is available about this process at the 2022 kickoff from 6-7 p.m. via Zoom on Wednesday. Solarize core team members will cover solar power, financial options and opportunities, how to solarize your neighborhood, how to become an area organizer, timelines and deadlines for 2022.

Registration is required to join the kickoff at bit.ly/3CBHs0b.

The kickoff event will be live streamed and recorded on Facebook as well. More details and updates about the kickoff will be posted on the Solarize Fairbanks Facebook event page — Solarize Fairbanks 2022 Kickoff.

Since it began in 2019, the initiative has facilitated eight Interior communities and neighborhood campaigns — Ester, Goldstream, Steele Creek, Farmers Loop, Downtown, Chena Ridge area, Eielson Farm Road and Denali Park area. To date, nearly 800kW has been purchased by 138 Alaskan home and business owners with the help of Solarize campaigns. Preferred installer Renewable Energy Systems enacted a solar pledge for an additional estimated 38kW to come online in 2022.

Each neighborhood or area needs a community organizer to help make this happen. Areas in Fairbanks and Denali Park are looking for new community organizers. This meeting will also explain duties of a community organizer.

In 2021, local residents in these local neighborhoods chose these organizations to receive small solar arrays, for free, from the contractors, Renewable Energy Systems, in Fairbanks. RES made a solar pledge to donate a solar installation worth 10% of each solar community’s total purchase. They include a 9kW array for Chena Goldstream Fire & Rescue, a 4kW array at the Bread Line and Stone Soup Cafe, a 7kW array at the Holland residence, an 11kW array at the Mushers Hall in Fairbanks and a 7kW array at Tri-Valley School in Healy

Questions? Contact solarizefairbanks@gmail.com.

Reach columnist/community editor Kris Capps at kcapps@newsminer.com. Follow her at Twitter.com/FDNMKris.

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