Solar Power Push Comes to Loudoun

The Northern Virginia Regional Commission and the Local Energy Alliance Program have joined with the Loudoun County government to promote the use of solar in homes and businesses.

The program’s aim is to make solar power more accessible and affordable. Community members can learn more about solar options through the program and get advice on installation and financing of their own project.

Industry growth continues bring prices down and the 30 percent federal tax credit has been extended through 2019. The Solarize NOVA program offers additional discounts. LEAP will aid customers in accessing the 30 percent federal tax credit and navigating the Solar Renewable Energy Credit market.

NVRC says appraisals on homes equipped with solar equipment are $10,000 to $22,000 higher than their conventional comparables. The Energy Information Administration projects a 2 percent annual rise in residential energy rates for the Mid-Atlantic, while solar customers regularly see an 8 percent or better return on their investment.

LEAP already has implemented Solarize programs, in other jurisdictions around the region, including Leesburg and Purcellville.

Three solar energy workshops are scheduled for the public:

  • Tuesday, Oct. 25, 6:30 p.m., Gum Springs Library, 24600 Millstream Dr., Stone Ridge;
  • Monday, Nov. 7, 6:30 p.m., Cascades Library, 21030 Whitfield Place, Potomac Falls;
  • Tuesday, Nov. 22, 6:30 p.m., Rust Library, 380 Old Waterford Road, NW, Leesburg.

Another aid is the solar map that depicts how and where people can achieve greater energy efficiency in their home.

“It is up and running,” said Robert W. Lazaro Jr., NVRC’s acting executive director. It is the first regional such map in Virginia and was released on a trial basis in Dumfries in the spring. Go to novasolarmap.com to find out what your possibilities might be.

“You put in your address, click on the link, in the left hand corner, put in your address and your home comes up—it tells you the dimensions of your roof and how much is usable for solar, how large an array you’ll need and what your annual savings would be,” Lazaro said.

The map does not substitute for a qualified home inspector, but it shows the possibilities and educates the public, Lazaro said.

Lazaro installed solar power at his Purcellville home and said his energy costs have lowered substantially.

The Solarize NOVA program has been credited with helping increase solar in Virginia by more than 6 percent since 2013.

For more information, go to solarizeloudoun.org.

mmorton@loudounnow.com

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