For a limited time each year, residents and businesses within PEC’s 9-county service area can take advantage of Solarize Piedmont –a cooperative program with Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP), The Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC), and participating municipal governments– to bring solar power to more people in the commonwealth.
The benefits of solar power are multi-fold: providing peak power close to the demand, energy security, cost savings, local employment opportunities, and emissions reductions. If you live in PEC’s service territory and have been thinking about putting solar power on your home, farm, or business, this is your opportunity to find out if it will work for you and take advantage of some very competitive pricing.
Our recent Solarize Piedmont campaign ran from May 3 – June 30, 2021.
Stay tuned for a 2022 campaign next spring or summer!
Want to get started right away? Here’s a list of local solar installers who you can reach out to for an assessment.
Learn more about our annual solarize campaigns below!
How it Works – Step by Step Process
Do you live in Albemarle, Charlottesville, Clarke, Culpeper, Fauquier, Greene, Loudoun, Madison, Orange or Rappahannock? If yes, Solarize Piedmont is the campaign for you. Here’s information on how to participate:
1. Sign Up
Interested in solar, but not sure where to start? Curious about what you should be looking for or what is a good price? Get started by filling out our online form to get a free assessment to determine if your home is a good candidate for solar. There is absolutely no commitment until, and if, you sign a contract with an installer.
2. Solar Assessment
After you fill out the form, staff from LEAP will perform a satellite assessment of your property (via Google Earth) to determine its suitability for a solar array. You will be contacted with the results within 3-5 business days. Primarily, we’re looking for a good location for the solar panels. Most are installed on roofs, so a generally south-facing roof that isn’t shaded by adjacent trees is perfect. Ground-mounted systems are an option for fields or yards that get plenty of sun.
If your property is a good candidate for solar, LEAP will email you back asking you to share a copy of your prior year’s electric usage. This step helps the installer to determine the optimal size system for your home.
3. Connect with Vetted Installer
Through a comprehensive and competitive bidding process, we selected two qualified local solar installers for the campaign. Once your electric usage is in hand, LEAP will forward your contact information on to one of them. Within 3-5 business days, that installer will contact you to schedule a free site visit to your home to create a proposal tailored for you, your budget, and your home’s energy needs.
4. On-Site Inspection + Proposal
The installer will do a site visit to evaluate your property and identify the best system for your needs. Then, they’ll send you a proposal tailored to your home, including financing options. Decide whether the proposal, pricing and financing options are right for you. This may involve a back and forth with the installer to further tailor your options. If you aren’t able to move forward right away, at least you have a better idea of your options!
Still not sure? Let LEAP’s Solarize manager know. They can talk to you about your questions or concerns.
If the proposal and price work for you, it is time to sign the proposal. The installer will obtain all necessary permits, materials, and equipment, and will get started on the installation. It generally takes from 2-4 months from signing up to having a functional system in place.
6. Enjoy the Savings and Clean Energy!
Once your system is up and running, you use electricity as it is generated and sell back any surplus electricity to the utility. Through “net energy metering,” you get a one-to-one, kilowatt hour-for-kilowatt hour credit on your bill for every unit of electricity produced and put back on the electric grid.
The electric utility will never pay you for the solar energy, they just credit your account. The credits are good for 12 months, so a sunny summer can be saving money for you in the winter.
Happy with your system? Let us know! We’d love to hear your story.
If you live in Virginia, but do not live in PEC’s service territory, and would like to know if there are Solarize options near you, shoot LEAP an email at email@example.com. They are expanding their Solarize program and might be coming to your neighborhood soon!