on Sep 22, 2016
Galloway, Highland Park, Hoboken, Hopewell, Maplewood, Verona and Woodbridge will engage homeowners and businesses in adopting solar
Today Sustainable Jersey announced the seven municipalities selected for the Sustainable Jersey Solar Challenge program: Galloway Township, Highland Park, City of Hoboken, Hopewell Township, Maplewood Township, Verona Township and Woodbridge. Woodbridge and Highland Park also served as early pilots to fine-tune the program. These municipalities will promote the adoption of solar energy at the community-level and track their impact on the number of new local solar installations.
Randall Solomon, co-director of Sustainable Jersey said, “Finding a contractor to install a still evolving solar technology, with a confusing array of incentives and financing options, has emerged as a significant barrier to the growth of solar energy. Sustainable Jersey launched this program to overcome obstacles and provide a simple, cost effective way for municipalities to engage homeowners and small businesses in adopting solar.”
The eight-month community-led program leverages an online solar marketplace and a suite of locally-branded social media marketing tools to help spread the word in the community about solar and the program. The Sustainable Jersey Solar Challenge takes advantage of a new online solar marketplace developed by the firm EnergySage with the support of the U.S. Department of Energy. The EnergySage web-based interface offers consumers online comparison-shopping, providing an experience similar to buying an auto online. Because the online solar marketplace is open to all solar vendors who meet the EnergySage vetting criteria, consumers have access to multiple high quality contractors.
“This is an exciting program and one that we’re thrilled to support,” said Vikram Aggarwal, founder and CEO of EnergySage. “The Sustainable Jersey Solar Challenge will provide communities throughout New Jersey with the right tools and resources needed to efficiently explore their solar energy options. Municipality programs like this make the process of adopting solar as transparent, easy and affordable for their residents as possible.”
The communities selected for the Sustainable Jersey Solar Challenge will receive support from Sustainable Jersey and EnergySage in developing and promoting the outreach campaign and will be featured on the Sustainable Jersey Solar Challenge website, which will track the progress of each community in achieving signed contracts for solar installation by local homeowners and businesses. The participating municipalities will compete for the title of Solar Challenge Champion and a range of awards up to $10,000. The program will run from October 2016 through May 2017.
John McCormac, the mayor of Woodbridge Township said, “We’re proud that Woodbridge Township is an energy leader. There are over thirty public buildings with solar-panels which include schools, fire departments and municipal buildings and we have implemented a successful residential home energy audit program. We see the Solar Challenge as a natural progression for reducing energy use in the community and look forward to promoting solar to our residents and small businesses.”
The Solar Challenge pilot programs and the grants to be distributed to the seven municipalities are funded by the Gardinier Environmental Fund. Gardinier Environmental Fund President Gene Wentzel said, “The Gardinier Environmental Fund is committed to conserving the earth’s energy resources and enhancing renewable energy measures. We are proud to stand alongside Sustainable Jersey, and to continue to fund worthy projects that support our mutual goals in New Jersey.” To date, Gardinier Environmental Fund has provided $585,000 to New Jersey municipalities and schools through the Sustainable Jersey Small Grants program.