Irondequoit pushes solar technology for homes
by: Sean Lahman
There aren’t many houses in Irondequoit with solar panels on their roofs, but a new initiative hopes to change that.
Dubbed “Solarize Irondequoit,” the program helps residents assess whether the technology is well suited for their home, learn about financial incentives and tax credits that are available, and connect them with local installers.
“We’re doing a very aggressive public outreach campaign,” said Town Supervisor Dave Seeley. “We want to make sure people understand the benefits of solar.”
The town has partnered with a local nonprofit called ROCSPOT, which has led similar efforts in the City of Rochester and the town of Brighton.
“There has not been a lot of residential adoption in this area, but we’re working to get the word out about the technology.” said ROCSPOT president Susan Spencer. “We’ll make a big push in Irondequoit for the rest of the summer”
The town and ROCSPOT are holding a series of sessions where residents learn how solar power works and how they can start generating their own electricity. The first event was held August 24, with additional sessions scheduled during the month of September.
Spencer says many of the people she talks to believe the Rochester region doesn’t get enough sun to make solar energy a viable option, and that the costs of rooftop installations are prohibitive. Both are misconceptions she hopes to dispel.
“For a long time it was prohibitively expensive to install solar panels on your house, upwards of $50,000 or $60,000 in the 1990s,” she said. “But people are putting systems up today for as low as $5,000.”
Most of the solar systems installed through the program cost $5,000 to $8,000 dollars once state grants, state and federal tax credits and the Solarize Irondequoit discount is taken into account, Spencer said. The owners should recoup the cost of the installation in less than 10 years’ time by making use of “free” electricity generated by the panels instead of purchasing the power from the local utility, she said.
And she points out that we get more than enough sunny days here to make solar energy production feasible.