Group Aims to 'Go Solar' in Columbus

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COLUMBUS -

A volunteer group in Bartholomew County is banding together to bring more solar energy to the area. The Columbus Community Solar Initiative is gathering commitments to have 1,000 solar panels installed at homes, businesses and community organizations by the end of the year. Volunteer Administrative Coordinator Mike Mullett says with tax credits and enough involvement, a typical 5 kilowatt residential array would cost around $10,000. He says bringing together dedicated participants will help lower the cost of the technology.

Mullett believes with community buy-in, it is feasible to expand the use of solar right now. The technology has traditionally carried too high a price tag for most consumers.

The group engaged in a process to secure a partner to provide and install the panels. Ohio-based Third Sun Solar says they were selected after a meticulous vetting process. The Columbus Community Solar Initiative is sponsored by the Energy Matters Community Coalition and the Winding Waters Group, a division of the Sierra Club.

Mullett says the effort is modeled after the Solarize Northwest Indiana initiative. He says his group took from the previous effort the need to screen potential participants and vendors and that there is a "marked difference" between interest and commitment. Mullett says other grassroots efforts are underway in Muncie, South Bend and Fort Wayne.

He says several energy providers throughout the state are looking more toward solar as they "see the handwriting on the wall" about energy sources with finite supplies.

Columbus Community Solar Initiative is hosting a public information meeting June 8 from 7:00 to 8:30 PM at the Columbus Area Visitors Center. You can connect to more on the program by clicking here.

Columbus Community Solar Initiative Volunteer Administrative Coordinator Mike Mullett believes with community buy-in, it is feasible to expand the use of solar right now.
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