Solarize Hamden Deadline Nearing

The program offers discounted pricing to Hamden residents.

Solarize Hamden is making it easier and more affordable for homeowners 
to go solar, but the program’s deadline, Jan. 28, 2014, is less than a month away.

Since its official launch on Nov 8, Solarize Hamden has generated more than 75 inquiries from residents interested in a free home assessment to see whether their home is a good fit for solar. Of these, four have already signed contracts, collectively generating 29 kW of power.

In exchange for outreach support from the town, Hamden’s chosen installer, C-TEC Solar, is offering discounted pricing to Hamden residents. Solarize Hamden is currently offering Tier 3 pricing; as more resident sign up, Hamden will reach the next pricing Tier, which will drop the price for all Solarize participants, regardless of when they signed their contracts. 

“We are hopeful that we will reach Tier 5, which offers the lowest available pricing for all Hamden residents,” said Chris Marchand, Town of Hamden Community Development Manager. 

Homeowners interested in learning more can attend our Final Hamden Solarize Workshop on Thursday, Jan. 9 from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Hamden Library, Thornton Wilder Hall, 2901 Dixwell Ave. 

C-TEC Solar will discuss Solarize Hamden and how solar works and answer your questions about your home’s solar potential.             

“The Town of Hamden is proud to have been selected to participate in the Solarize CT program shortly after participating in Energize Hamden,” said Mayor Scott Jackson. 

“Residents can look forward to solar array purchases or leases at substantially-reduced cost," he said. "The town, with great assistance by its Energy Use and Climate Change Commission, continues to seek and provide residents with opportunities for reducing energy costs and switching to cleaner energy options."

For more information about Solarize Hamden, visit www.solarizect.com/Hamden or contact C-TEC Solar at 855-76 SOLAR (76527).

Dan Garrett January 04, 2014 at 07:48 AM
I have solar on my home. My electric bill which used to be close to $200.00 per month is now $15.85 per month the fee UI charges to be connected to the grid. My $200.00 per month goes to First Niagara. The loan will be paid in 7 1/2 years. Then my electricity will be free. Solar is a no brainer.
John January 04, 2014 at 01:01 PM
Dan, you mention you pay you loan off in 7.5 years then electric is free. How long are the panels suppose to last before you have to replace on average? How much down payment is required? Thanks
Thomas Alegi January 04, 2014 at 01:04 PM
Dan, something to ponder! “Solarize Hamden has generated more than 75 inquiries from residents interested in a free home assessment to see whether their home is a good fit for solar.” Looks like I’m one of the 75….These numbers I will use came from a Purchase Summary generated by Hamden’s chosen installer, C-TEC Solar. System costs $39,406, State Incentive $10,660, Federal Tax Credit $8,624. The Net Cost without financing $20,122. In RED the Purchase Summary reads “This Proposal is only an estimate. C-Tech Solar, LCC is not a certified tax representative. Any tax questions should be discussed with a professional.” …. Conventional wisdom says that if you put solar panels on your roof in the Northern Hemisphere, you should point them within 30 degrees of true south to generate the most energy in the course of a year…. Use a formula to find the best tilt angle from the horizontal at which the solar panel should be tilted in the Northern Hemisphere. I used an App to find the proper solar panel tilt angel for Hamden, CT and the Purchase Summary was nowhere near the proper solar tilt angel for Hamden. There are many formulas on the internet and APPS for cellphones and tablets that can do the entire math for proper solar panel tilt angels and degrees of true south for Hamden or any town…. Placing solar panels on your 0 degree flat roof (0 pitch roof) to a 45 degrees (12 pitch roof), reduces the efficiency of the solar panels as much as 38% in this area of the country. Let’s not forget you should point solar panels within 30 degrees of true south to generate the most energy in the course of a year. Facing solar panels west also reduces the efficiency of the solar panels. I would suggest if anyone is interested in having solar panels installed do your homework first, before contacting any solar panel installer and get 3 estimates. Just because are L/C uses bid wavers for almost everything today that does not mean we have to. Remember it’s your money you are spending…. One more point, I am 66 years old and I would be in the grave when solar panels would pay for themselves and zero out my electric bill.…. If you use natural gas look into a home Natural Gas Fuel Cells to generate electricity, they work even on cloudy days….. Dan, you forgot to mention Solar panels need regular maintenance so they can work efficiently. OMG, Dan, you must be a “One Percenter” with all your free money coming in from your solar panels. LOL...John, on average solar panels last from 15 to 18 years, if maintained well, way less if not maintained.
Professive Mom January 05, 2014 at 09:46 AM
don't get me wrong - professive mom is not opposed to solar - but here are some questions to think about: to Dan - why was your electric bill $200 to begin with? that's more than double what my family uses a month. the poor man's (or woman's) solution is to just unplug some things. (less sexy than panels but oh well) and to John - yes, the optimum direction is 30 degrees of true solar (not magnetic) south, and the optimal 'tilt' for solar electric is the latitude (here 41 deg) plus or minus 15 degrees. (solar thermal should be steeper here). Most panels are wired in series so any shadow (from the house, trees, etc) reduces the system's output substantially. Did C-Tec give you an estimated monthly or yearly savings from the panels or did they not go there. Given that they are obviously making a profit on installations, what assurance do we have that C-TEC is properly evaluating sites?
Thomas Alegi January 05, 2014 at 12:23 PM
Professive Mom, the only assurance that C-TEC is properly evaluating sites is by Hamden property owners doing their homework regarding solar panel arrays….. Some years back I viewed a PBS TV documentary regarding how American consumers shop and choose goods and services. What was interesting about this documentary was when the actor stated. “A good number of consumers will look to see how many sheets there are in a roll of toilet paper before buying the roll.” Then the actor went on to say, other consumers will buy a roll of toilet paper labeled “New Improved” even thou the paper used in both the so called old roll and New Improved roll are the same paper. After that the actor pointed out the deference between the so called old roll and New Improved roll. The deference was the New Improved roll had fewer sheets and cost more……. Are Hamden consumers knowledgeable consumers or are they influenced by selling strategies? Does anyone recall these words spoken by Mr. Whipple “Please don’t squeeze the Charmin!” How many millions of consumers squeezed the Charmin? Mr. Whipple would be saying today “Please don’t squeeze the Solar Array!” LOL
Professive Mom January 05, 2014 at 03:39 PM
Truthfully Tom - I lost you at Mr. Whipped. But basically what you are implying is that rate payer money and federal tax dollars are subsidizing systems for those who can afford upfront costs or financing approaching 10k with no performance requirements?!! Someone else - is that right?
Professive Mom January 05, 2014 at 03:42 PM
That's 'Mr. Whippel'
Thomas Alegi January 05, 2014 at 07:32 PM
Professive Mom, the Mr. Whipple marking strategy got people to squeeze the Charmin and see how soft it was. Once a shopper squeezed the Charmin more than likely the Charmin wound up in the shopper’s cart, and the shopper would not notice the higher cost and less sheets on the roll. Because the shopper felt good when he/she squeezed the Charmin even thou the words in the TV ad that Mr. Whipple spoke were “Please don’t squeeze the Charmin!”….. If you can make a shopper feel good about a product many will buy the product. This Hamden solar array program does the same it makes people feel good about a product. There are less expensive ways for homeowners to lower their electrical costs without a large investment. As my grandmother who lived thought the Great Depression told all her grandchildren in Italian, “Spegnere le luci” which means “Turn off the lights.”……. Two up and coming ways to generate cheap electricity for residential use and heat/cool residential buildings are Fuel Cells and Geothermal. Lastly everyone who owns a residential building should have an energy audit done before investing in any type of alternative energy source……. My Hamsters are very pleased I had an energy audit done some years ago; they now don’t have to turn their cage generator as fast... LOL
Professive Mom January 06, 2014 at 09:50 AM
Tom - I'm with your grandmother. But I must correct you on two issues. First, geothermal (correctly called ground source heat pump) basically extracts heat (or 'coolth') from the 55 degree ground and uses that to preheat (or cool) incoming air. It uses high grade electricity for the pumps (in CT made from 50% nukes) to heat your building. (splitting atoms to boil water). GSHP does not make sense for residential retrofits in this climate since the cooling (electricity anyway) does not outway the heating loads. One would do much much better to insulate and install an efficient boiler. Plus, the cost of drilling the ground wells is also astronomical. The reason it is incentivized is the lobbying in Hartford done by UI and CLP. There are some newly designed NE homes off-gride that use this technology but pair it with an on-site green source of electricity - yes, rooftop solar electric. Second, I'd like to see what the fuel cell math at the high school is working out to be. Basically, right now, fuel cells use natural gas (hydrogen in the future) to make electricity. Whether there is a cost savings depends on the volatile costs of both sources - at best - it's a bet. did your grandmother have a saying for 'there's no free lunch'.
Erin O'Sullivan January 06, 2014 at 09:52 AM
Hey guys, My name is Erin and I'm working with the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA) and the Town of Hamden on Solarize Hamden. I can help you out with a few of your questions 1- solar panels are insured for 20-25 years and typically last for about 40 years. Since there are no moving parts on a solar panel, the maintenance is nil- most people just leave them alone. 2- Shadows on one panel will reduce the effectiveness of the other panels on a roof if the systems uses a central inverter- however, with microinverters the effectiveness of one panel is independent of the rest. C-TEC offers these through Solarize Hamden. 3- You raise a great questions about performance requirements. All systems will be checked by the installer, the town and CEFIA (unless the installer has an excellent track record in past work with CEFIA, in which case CEFIA will check a sample of the installations). 4- CEFIA built financing options with lower credit requirements and no money down options so that people who want to go solar can on any budget. Lease and loan payments are lower than your electric bill, so whether you buy outright or finance a system, you can start saving money immediately. Please let me know if you have any other questions. You can reach me at eosullivan@smartpower.org or 410 980 2242. Have a great day! -Erin
Professive Mom January 06, 2014 at 11:56 AM
very helpful Erin next questions: what is the typical installation? how many panels? how big - how many KW? is it correct that shade on one part of the panel affects the panel performance? second: assuming perfect solar access with the typical installation - how many KWh per year - and finally - what is the yearly savings with net metering across months? It would be good to publish the numbers on an analysis of a typical house in Hamden.
Thomas Alegi January 06, 2014 at 12:09 PM
Erin wrote “1- solar panels are insured for 20-25 years and typically last for about 40 years.” On page three of the C-TEC Purchase Agreement, states “WARRANTY: Thirteen (13) year 100% labor warranty. This covers all electrical workmanship and balance of system components (Non-Solar Specific Parts.)” Next on page one (1) of the Phono Solar information sheet, “WARRANTIES, 10-YEAR PRODUCT WARRANTY, 25-YEAR PERFORMANCE WARRANITY.” Looks by the wording the panels are only covered for a 10 year limited warranty, not the 20-25 that Eric spoke of….. Let’s go back to the word Eric used “insured”. One would assume the owner of the solar panel array and micro inverter would have to purchase some kind of extended warranty that would cover the solar panels for a period of 20- 25 years. (Not Home Owner Insurance in most cases)…… The paper work provided me by C-TEC makes no mention as to typically service life expectancy of the solar panels or micro inverter. That I can understand because there are too many weather variables in the Northeast ……. It would have been nice if C-TEC provided this type of information in their written material….. The % Sun number measures the percentage of time between sunrise and sunset that sunshine reaches the ground. Total Hours is the average number of sunny hours the city normally has in a year. Clear Days is the average number of days annually when cloud covers at most 30 percent of the sky during daylight hours. These figures are for Hartford, CT. % Sun 56%, Total Hours, 2585, Clear days 82. Sorry to say Hartford was the only city listed for Connecticut. I think everyone can see the value of this type of information…. Finally I wish there was a way of posting the picture of my roof that C-Tec provided me. It shows 2/3 of the solar panels facing East with shade from my neighbors trees on them. Eric how long do trees last? LOL…. All I am saying is people need to do their homework, before buying anything.
Reyn Richard January 06, 2014 at 04:04 PM
Insurance is only as good as the company behind it. None of these solar panel companies have been around more than a few years. China is the leading supplier of panels and is increasing market share. Erin, are the warranties backed by the state of CT? or do we just assume these companies will be around in 2040? Will the town assume any responsibility if the panels don't live up to expectations?
Professive Mom January 06, 2014 at 04:59 PM
I think Hamden residents really deserve some analysis from an independent source on whether this PV solar program is a good investment right now versus other energy efficiency measures. Even with the generous upfront incentives and financing programs, it's possible their payback is longer than their expected life or warranty. It would be wrong for the town to promote a program that costs residents more than it saves into the future. The EUCCC and the mayor's office really need to hire an independent engineer to review the analysis that is presented by the CEFIA. There are always many assumptions in this kind of analysis (including the future cost of grid electricity) and it would be good to understand what assumptions are made. This was the same problem with the HHS fuel cell - no independent engineer reviewed the vendor's analysis!! Now tell me, if you are the vendor, standing to make a huge profit - do you make the 'assumptions' in the analysis that are not in your favor? Only one L/C member questioned it at all - it's not easy being 'not green'.
Thomas Alegi January 06, 2014 at 07:23 PM
Professive Mom your above comment shines.
Professive Mom January 07, 2014 at 08:58 AM
Grazie per il complimento splendente
Thomas Alegi January 07, 2014 at 12:34 PM
Professive Mom, In qualsiasi momento, quando il sole splende


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