Grassroots Efforts Help Make Solar an Affordable Option

White Plains, NY, December 25, 2015 --( Hoping to put solar panels atop the three-family home, this homeowner in White Plains reached out to half a dozen installers for price estimates.

Most didn't return his calls. One looked at a Google image of his roof and told him - erroneously - that solar wouldn't be viable on his row house. Another gave him an outrageously high quote, according to the homeowner, a computer scientist who works in the finance industry.

"The biggest hurdle for companies to take on jobs is to do the site assessment and spend time and see if it's viable or not. Maybe that's one of the reasons they blow you off, if they don't think it's a big enough job," said the homeowner, who wanted to go solar for environmental reasons and to take advantage of soon-to-be expiring incentives that make such projects cost effective.

"I was totally discouraged," he said.

He had almost given up when he found America Green, a new grassroots initiative in his neighborhood. A Brand Ambassador had come by and shared with several home owners the options they had with federally funded green projects.

The organization works with property owners and business owners, doing free solar consultations and assessments to see if solar projects are viable for them. Once homeowner is qualified a site survey is done and the home customization begins.

This homeowner, who is part of a network with four other homeowners, signed a contract about a month ago and expects to have solar panels installed within the next 2 months. Though his system will cost more than $28,000 to install, it will end up costing just roughly $7,500 after factoring in rebates, state and federal tax credits and a city property tax abatement, the homeowner shared.

He expects to recoup his costs — powering his first-floor and basement unit, as well as his building's common areas — in less than six years.

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