Reflecting its heritage as Cincinnati’s first true suburb, Wyoming is one of the first suburbs outside of the county seat to enter into an agreement with the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance (GCEA) that will allow our residents to participate in GCEA’s “Solarize Cincy” and “Get Efficient” programs. These programs allow participants to assess their homes’ energy efficiency and make energy improvements in a simple, cost-effective way.
Prior to this year, GCEA, the nonprofit organization that promotes energy efficiency and renewable energy in Greater Cincinnati, only offered Solarize Cincy, a program that promotes solar-energy improvements, to residents in the City of Cincinnati. The Get Efficient program, which is new this year, will allow Wyoming residents to assess the overall energy efficiency of their homes by using an online assessment tool and provides advice and affordable financing solutions for making those improvements.
Delhi Township and Sycamore Township are also participating in these programs this year.
“Solarize Cincy has been a very successful program in the City of Cincinnati over the past couple of years, which has substantially increased the number of solar installations in that city,” said GCEA President and CEO Jerry Schmits.
“Get Efficient is a new program we created to help residents determine the need for energy-efficiency improvements in their home and then provide them with assistance to make these improvements a reality. We are excited to offer both of these cost-saving and carbon-reducing programs throughout the Greater Cincinnati region this year.”
GCEA will work with Wyoming residents to help walk them through the home energy-assessment process, provide bulk-buying discounts for top-quality materials, recommend qualified contractors to do the work, and offer easy access to financing options to pay for these improvements.
“Wyoming has long prided itself on forward thinking regarding sustainability and environmental stewardship and this program allows us to further expand those efforts in our community.”
“Get Efficient” Program
The “Get Efficient” program provides a turnkey solution that allows residents to assess the energy efficiency of their homes through an online assessment tool. After residents input data about their homes into the online tool, they receive a free report showing the results of the assessment and providing energy-improvement recommendations. GCEA is the only nonprofit organization in the country to offer this free online tool, which can be accessed on the GCEA website.
“The Get Efficient program provides a great way for residents — especially those living in older homes — to learn how energy efficient or inefficient their homes are and what actions they can take to reduce their monthly utility bills,” said Kevin Tolan, Product Development Manager at GCEA. “During the entire assessment and improvement process, GCEA serves as an adviser to residents.”
If a homeowner is interested in making energy improvements to their home, GCEA will refer them to qualified contractors that the organization has vetted and/or help homeowners obtain the financing needed to make these improvements, Tolan said. In some cases, energy savings generated by the improvements can pay off their costs during the term of the loan or within a few years after it is paid off.
Solarize Cincy Program
The three-year-old “Solarize Cincy” program provides homeowners with a simple way to add solar energy to their homes. Those interested in this technology can visit SolarizeCincy.com and use an online tool to determine whether their roofs are a good fit for a solar installation, how much installation is likely to cost, and how much energy savings the installation is likely to produce annually.
Solarize Cincy can help homeowners leverage federal tax incentives and provide significant bulk-buying discounts for top-quality materials to offset or reduce installation costs as well provide easy access to financing options to pay for the purchase and installation of a solar-energy systems.
“Solarize Cincy is about increasing solar installations by educating people that installing solar equipment can be easy and affordable,” said Robert McCracken, director of operations at GCEA.
“Greater Cincinnati is the number one region in Ohio for solar installations. Last year, residential solar installations in Hamilton County increased by 42 percent over the previous year. By expanding the Solarize Cincy program to the entire region this year, we believe this number will increase significantly again this year.”
A number of factors continue to make the installation of solar panels an attractive and economical option for area residents in 2018:
- Availability of a 30-percent federal tax credit, which ends in 2019.
- The cost of a solar installation has dropped by nearly 75 percent in the last 10 years.
- Using the Solarize Cincy volume discount offerings, residents can save between 5 and 20 percent over the normal cost of solar installations; the larger the system, the greater the savings.
- Today’s solar panels are more visibly appealing than in the past, can be customized to unique roofs, and are more durable, with warranties that now exceed 25 years.
- The in-house infrastructure needed to support the system is less complicated than in the past and takes up very little space.