Philadelphia has reopened its Solarize Philly program, designed to help finance solar installations by residents and businesses.
The Philadelphia Energy Authority (PEA), which administers Solarize Philly, says it is the largest program of its kind in the nation, with 654 homeowners having signed solar contracts since the program started in 2017.
Those enrolled benefit from group-buying discounts and consumer protections. Solarize Philly vets installers, who are now offering free remote assessments through online conferences.
Installations, however, will only resume when Gov. Tom Wolf lifts restrictions on construction due to the coronavirus, according to a statement issued from the office of Emily Schapira, PEA’s executive director.
“Now more than ever it’s clear that our health is impacted by our behavior and our environment,” Mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement. “Going solar is one way that you can take action to support the health of the Philadelphia community for the long run.”
Added Council President Darrell L. Clarke: “Job creation is going to be key to the recovery of our economy. Of all energy projects, rooftop solar creates the most jobs per dollar invested, and the Philadelphia Energy Authority is training young Philadelphians to fill those positions. Solarize Philly participants are helping put people to work who need it the most.”
The PEA’s Solar Savings Grant Program provides grants paired with financing available for low- and moderate-income households looking to go solar with no upfront costs. Grants can cover up to half of the cost of solar for eligible households. However, spots are limited. Signups are handled at solarizephilly.org, where prospective participants can see if they qualify for the program, funded by program fees generated by Solarize Philly.
Separately, the city offers a Philadelphia Solar Rebate in which property owners are eligible for a one-time incentive payment.
Officials estimate the average rowhouse solar project will receive nearly $1,000. The rebate provides 20 cents per watt to residential projects. It provides 10 cents per watt to commercial projects.
For businesses, the city offers financing through the Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE program), as well as a reduction in permit fees.
The PEA was created in 2010 by the city to develop long-term energy projects and policies, and support clean energy.