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Bloomington Residents Urged to Install Solar Panels by End of Year

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The Solarize Bloomington Initiative is beginning its second phase, encouraging residents to install solar panels before the end of the year. The program is a collaboration between the City of Bloomington and the Solar Indiana Renewable Energy Network, or SIREN.

Bloomington is encouraging residents to go solar before the end of 2017, instead of waiting until 2018, when the state’s new net metering system kicks in.

Net metering is an arrangement that credits solar panel owners for excess power they produce. That excess power goes out to the grid for other homeowners to use. A member of the steering committee at SIREN, Anne Hedin, says crediting is currently done at the retail rate, but that will change.

Hedin said she’s hopeful that more people will be interested in going solar because of the decrease in cost of solar panels. According to SIREN, the price of panels has halved since 2012, although prices still vary by property, system size, and installation costs.

The Solarize Bloomington Initiative helps reduce expenses for materials, labor, and other costs involved in installing a solar system for residents.

Hedin said homeowners participating in Solarize Bloomington’s Phase 2 could be looking at prices of roughly $7,000, after a 30 percent federal tax credit, for a four-kilowatt system. One of those systems can generate about half the needed electricity for a typical home.

Hedin said Phase 2 is expected to expand the program’s boundaries past Monroe County, to: Greene, Lawrence, Morgan, Orange and Owen counties.

People interested in signing up should visit siren solar dot org. There, they can fill out an info form and sign up for a required information session.

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