File

File

Event to Solarize the Kenai kicks off

The project that gathers a group of solar power customers to ensure discounts on installment.

A group of local organizers are banding together this week to make installing solar panels on local homes and businesses affordable.

On Thursday, the Solarize the Kenai project kicks off by inviting residents who are interested in installing solar power on their property to speak with people who have already gone solar, and to learn more about Solarize — a project that gathers a group of solar power customers to ensure discounts on installment.

The Solarize the Kenai project, which is a citizen-led project working with Kenai Change, is based on other collective solar-buying projects that started a decade ago in Portland, Oregon. The model of the project is to pool the collective buying power of business and homeowners. Solar installers then bid for the job serving the large group of customers. For the installer, filling out their schedule with a known group of customers lowers their logistics and marketing costs, letting them offer services for less, Ben Boettger, an organizer for the Solarize the Kenai event, said via email.

“Because the installers are competing against one another for the pool of customers, they’re incentivized to offer even more of a discount,” Boettger said.

The idea to Solarize the Kenai came out of discussions from the Drawdown: Book to Action Climate Series, a community group focused on finding local projects to combat climate change. The series wrapped up this fall and the group voted to move forward with a community composting project, but Solarize the Kenai was a project the group still felt passionate about pursuing, Boettger said.

Hosting the Solarize the Kenai event this year was also strategic. Boettger said the group wanted to take advantage of the federal Solar Investment Tax Credit, which is sunsetting for homeowners. Last year, the credit was worth 30% of installation costs. This year, it’s 26%. Next year it will be 21% and in 2022 it will be 10% and only available to businesses.

“We didn’t want to pass up the opportunity for a greater discount,” Boettger said.

The Solarize project model has been used in cities and neighborhoods across the Lower 48 and Alaska. Solarize Anchorage began in 2018, with a campaign that installed solar in 33 homes in the Airport Heights neighborhood, according to the project’s website. In 2019, a second Solarize Anchorage project installed solar in 163 homes in four neighborhoods. A third Solarize Anchorage campaign is in the works now, along with a Solarize Fairbanks project.

The kickoff on Thursday is the beginning of many events, with the goal of recruiting a pool of committed residents by March, when the group will hear bids from solar installers. The installer will be chosen by April and they will work on putting up solar for participants until the fall.

Residents who can’t make Thursday’s event, but want to know more can visit KenaiChange.org. Email direct questions to solarizethekenai@gmail.com.

The Solarize the Kenai Kickoff event is from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the Soldotna Public Library.

More in News

Elementary school students line up to touch a salmon during the annual egg take demonstration at the Anchor River on Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019, in Anchor Point, Alaska. Students leave the egg take event with fertilized salmon eggs to raise into fry throughout the year through the Salmon in the Classroom project hosted by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Sport Fish Division. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News file)
Kids to get close-up look at fish life cycle

Alaska Department of Fish and Game representatives will conduct presentations at coho salmon egg takes

Fat Bear Week bracket (Photo courtesy Katmai National Park & Preserve)
Fat bears face off

Voters decide on the heftiest Katmai brown bear

Voting booths are set up at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Unofficial results: school bond, field house OK’d

Incumbents also came out ahead in preliminary results

Spencer McLean and his daughter, Emma McLean, show their support for Proposition 3, through which a new CES Station 1 would be constructed in Soldotna, on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Blustery weather, average turnout mark municipal election day

Up for consideration this year were city council, board of education and assembly seats, as well as a handful of propositions affecting borough schools, emergency services and legislative representation

Kenai City Manager Paul Ostrander sits inside Kenai City Hall on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Ostrander to leave City of Kenai in January

Ostrander has served as the city manager since 2017

Melanie Hardin, right, greets the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp.’s Board of Trustees before her interview for the APFC’s executive director’s job Monday, Oct. 3, 2022, in Juneau, (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Permanent Fund board picks new executive director

Trustees work overtime selecting from three candidates after interviews Monday

A sign welcoming visitors to the Literary Haunted House at the Kenai Community Library can be seen here on Oct. 30, 2019. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)
A sign welcoming visitors to the Literary Haunted House at the Kenai Community Library can be seen here on Oct. 30, 2019. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion file)
Libraries host haunted houses, scary storytimes, seasonal crafts

It’s all about Halloween at Kenai and Soldotna libraries

Kenai Fire Marshal Jeremy Hamilton is seen by one of Kenai Fire Department’s Tower trucks on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022 at Kenai Fire Department in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Get up, get out and get safe’

Kids taught about fire safety as part of prevention effort

Bob Bird, left, chairman of the Alaskan Independence Party, and former Lt. Gov. Loren Leman make the case in favor of a state constitutional convention during a debate in Anchorage broadcast Thursday by Alaska Public Media. (Screenshot from Alaska Public Media’s YouTube channel)
Constitutional convention debate gets heated

Abortion, PFD factor into forum.

Most Read