‘Solarize’ campaign relaunches Feb. 1

Gorge Owned offers incentives for solar

Gorge Owned (GO!) is working with local solar contractors and partners to offer discounted, bulk rates on solar panel installations to homeowners in Klickitat, Skamania, Wasco and Hood River counties.

Now in its second year, GO! Solar is a community “solarize” initiative aimed at helping Gorge homeowners overcome the barriers associated with investing in solar power.

“Local contractors and suppliers are working together to offer a simplified process and unbeatable prices,” said Amanda Lawrence, GO! marketing and program director.

Federal, state and Energy Trust of Oregon (for Pacific Power customers) incentives, along with the GO! Solar program discount, can cover up to 80 percent of the costs of a rooftop solar system.

The catch: Homeowners have to sign up for the program no later than March 31 to guarantee the bulk discounts.

“GO! Solar gives people a tangible way to reduce their environmental impact while getting a great financial return on their investment,” said Scott Sorensen, co-owner of Common Energy, one of three GO! Solar contractors.

“The success of last year’s GO! Solar program shows that the Gorge is not just surviving the transition from coal to renewable energy. We’re thriving,” he added.

In 2015, 21 homeowners installed solar systems. Combined, they’re generating more than 100,000 watts of power and preventing about 250,000 pounds of CO2 emissions per year. Even more, the average price tag was about $3.50/watt installed — an extremely competitive price.

“We are still benefiting from the summer sun,” said Pamela Larsen, a 2015 GO! Solar participant. “Our power bill is the lowest it’s ever been during the winter months.” Pamela and her husband, Robert, inspired two of their neighbors to solarize their homes as well.

At the Feb. 1 kickoff event, 5:30-7 p.m. at Full Sail Brew Pub, 506 Columbia, learn about financial incentives for solar and meet the local contractors delivering the program, which include Common Energy, Green Home Solar and Hire Electric. Also, talk with homeowners who have already “solarized” their homes and enjoy light appetizers and beer available.

Gorge Owned is hosting a second informational event at Walking Man Brewing in Stevenson on Feb. 10 from 6-7:30 p.m.

GO! Solar is supported in part by Energy Trust of Oregon and Platt Electric.

About Gorge Owned

Gorge Owned is a 501.c.3 member-supported organization with a mission to help people invest in a strong local economy, healthy environment and vibrant community in the Columbia River Gorge. With more than 200 individual and business members, GO! delivers year-round programing that informs and inspires people to invest in making the Gorge an even better place to live.

Programs include Gorge Green Drinks, Sense of Place Lecture Series, GO! Local, GO! Solar, Clean Energy Works and more. Learn more at GorgeOwned.org.

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