Solarize Connecticut: A Community-Based Approach to Expanding Residential Solar

July 29, 2015
Session W3C: Community Solar and Net Zero Strategies for the New Energy Economy — Room 106
1:30 pm  -  2:30 PM

“Over the past year and a half Solarize Connecticut has been accelerating residential solar adoption by implementing community-based solar campaigns. A partnership between Yale University, Duke University, non-profit SmartPower and the CT Green Bank has been working through a Department of Energy Sunshot Initiative grant, as part of the Solar Energy Evolution Diffusion Study (SEEDS) to test various models of Solarize for persistence, effectiveness and scalability and the effect of peer influence and social networks on solar adoption. This abstract will describe the work of this coalition and the findings to date.

Solarize Connecticut began running Solarize programs in pilot programs across Connecticut in 2012. To date the program has been implemented in 58 communities across Connecticut with over 16 MWS of contracted solar completed. Through support from the SEEDS study, the Solarize campaign began a number of test models to determine the most efficient and effective Solarize program, based on the Solarize Classic approach of one pre-selected solar installer participating in a 20-week community-backed program. The Solarize Classic model includes tiered pricing for solar that is reduced as more solar is contracted. The models we have been testing include:

• Solarize Express
• Solarize Choice
• Solarize Prime
• Solarize Select
• Solarize On-line

This presentation will outline the findings of the SEEDS team to date, comparing the success of these various Solarize versions and report on the following:

• Key movitvations for participants to sign solar contracts
• The most successful outreach tools that generate leads
• The dramatic lift in signed contracts during the last two weeks of the program
• Key findings as reported by town volunteers
• Insights into social networks influencing the decision to buy solar
• Comparison of Solarize approaches used in the campaigns”