Mayor John Hamilton urged community members at a press conference this afternoon to pursue solar energy options as a state deadline approaches.
The press conference kicked off the second phase of Solarize Bloomington, an initiative purportedly designed to increase the amount of solar energy generated by homes and businesses.
Hamilton said Phase Two is an expansion of the project, which will extend to surrounding counties, including Greene, Morgan and Owen counties. It is also a more urgent expansion than the previous phase.
Senate Bill 309, passed earlier this year, created a December 31-st deadline for people hoping to receive financial incentives for investing in solar. Installation of solar panels may be expensive for some people, despite significant drops in the price of panels, but homeowners can be credited by utility companies for the extra energy they contribute to the power grid.
But after the end of this year, the financial incentives to pursue solar will lessen. Cliff Burk, a volunteer with the Solar Indiana Renewable Energy Network — an organization the city has worked with during both phases — explains the deadlines the state has created.
Burk says he worries about the loss of interest people may have in solar energy. With the passage of senate bill 309, the financial credit to homeowners could drop from 11 cents per kilowatt hour of solar energy given to the grid to around 4 cents.
Like Hamilton, Burk says he hopes people will continue to invest in solar energy for the sake of the environment and of other people.
More information about Phase 2 of Solarize Bloomington can be found here.