Three Local Towns Launch “Kearsarge Solar”

sun_smile_cartoonDartmouth/Lake Sunapee Region, N.H. — A team of Andover, New London and Wilmot residents this fall will undertake an effort to double the number of solar-electric (or photovoltaic) residential and small-business installations in their towns. The project, called Kearsarge Solarize Andover/New London/Wilmot, is part of a larger Solarize Upper Valley effort coordinated by local nonprofit Vital Communities.

Residents in the three towns are encouraged to learn more at the project’s launch event on Saturday, October 18, at 10 a.m. in Colby-Sawyer College’s Clements Hall (part of the Ivey Science Center), in New London.

Round One of Solarize Upper Valley yielded 120 new solar homes in five towns in the region. In Round Two, the Andover/New London/Wilmot team will launch a 15-week campaign (running mid-October through the end of January) to help residents and small businesses in their towns go solar. They join seven other towns across the Upper Valley in both New Hampshire and Vermont that are Solarizing this fall.

Asked why Vital Communities is behind the project, Sarah Simonds, its energy and transportation manager, replies: “We’re committed to moving our region toward energy independence. With growth in solar technology finally leveling out, and incentives available at the state and federal level, now is the perfect time for New Hampshire residents to be looking into solar.”

Team leaders for the Kearsarge Solarize project are retirees Larry and Susan Chase of Andover, Colby Sawyer professor Bill Spear of New London and New Hampshire State Representative Tom Schamberg of Wilmot. Both the Andover Energy Group and the New London Energy Committee are also behind the effort.

Here’s how the project works:

1. A team of volunteers from the three towns work to competitively select a partner solar installer.

2. Between mid-October and the end of January, the volunteer team and the selected partner installer will host events, sign residents up for free site evaluations and provide online resources to help local property owners understand where to begin, what to expect and the costs and benefits of going solar.

3. As more residents in the three towns sign up to go solar, the savings, determined by a tiered pricing structure to be made public before the campaign begins, are greater for everyone.

If you are even the slightest bit curious about solar, you’ll want to be at the Kearsarge Solarize launch event on October 18. In the meantime, for additional information and to be kept in the loop about more coming events, send your name and e-mail address to one of the following:

** in Andover, Larry Chase at lbchase@aol.com
** in New London, Bill Spear at wspear @colby-sawyer.edu
** In Wilmot, Tom Schamberg at tom@yourpromosolution.com.

The team would also like to hear from anyone interesting in helping with the volunteer effort.

Vital Communities, a nonprofit organization based in White River Junction, Vt., brings together citizens, organizations, and municipalities to take on issues where an independent voice and regional approach are essential. Working together, we make our region a better place to live, work, and play. Vital Communities’ Energy Program works to move the Upper Valley toward energy independence by catalyzing local efforts in energy efficiency and renewable energy. Learn more at vitalcommunities.org.

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