Gorge Owned, contractors team up for solar incentives

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

Now in its third and possibly final 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. 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 must 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 the GO! Solar program in past years shows that the Gorge is not just surviving the transition from coal to renewable energy. We’re thriving.”

In 2015 and 2016, over 50 homeowners installed solar systems though GO! Solar. Combined, they’re generating more than 200,000 watts of power and preventing about 500,000 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.” Larsen and her husband, Robert, inspired two of their neighbors to solarize their homes as well.

Learn about financial incentives for solar and meet local contractors delivering the program at the Jan. 25 kickoff event, from 5:30-7 p.m. at Full Sail Brew Pub, 506 Columbia St., and talk with homeowners who have already solarized their homes while enjoying complimentary light appetizers and beer.

Gorge Owned is hosting also a dinner for business owners interested in commercial solar on Feb. 20. To learn more about that contact Amanda Lawrence at amanda@gorgeowned.org.

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