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Go Solar! encourages energy efficiency

Discounts, rebates available

by: Submitted photo - Central Oregon residents can take advantage of rebates and discounts to install solar panels, according to Go Solar! Central Oregon.

In an economy where many people are struggling with their bills, Go Solar! Central Oregon is offering ideas for cutting expenses.
   Go Solar! Central Oregon, a program based in Bend and sponsored by the nonprofit Environmental Center, wants to make it more affordable for homeowners in Central Oregon to purchase solar electric or water systems.
   A free informational seminar for local residents will be held on Thursday, Oct. 4, from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at the Jefferson County Library. Registration for the event is requested at www.gosolarcentraloregon.org.
   Homeowners have until Oct. 31 to sign up for the program in order to take advantage of current discounts and rebates, according to Marika Smiley, project coordinator.
   By Nov. 11, homeowners would need to have the free assessment completed, so they can get the discount per watt for the system.
   Officials as Go Solar! estimate that homeowners could save 30 percent annually. Installation prices are about $4.50 per watt installed for an average sized residential electrical system (under 5,000 watts), or $4.40 per watt installed for a larger residential system.
   After the assessment, she added, "They're not obligated to continue with the program."
   "The prices have never been lower in our area and the federal, state and Energy Trust of Oregon rebates, together with the discounts offered by our two contractor partners, make the prices even lower," said Smiley.
   Energy Trust is offering Pacific Power customers cash incentives of 75 cents per watt, up to a maximum of $5,000. The incentive is paid directly to the installer. A bonus incentive of $400 is also offered to homeowners who install solar, plus two qualifying energy-efficiency upgrades by the end of the year.
   Go Solar! Central Oregon is partnering with contractors E2 Solar Energy and Sunlight Solar to perform the solar installations. The Environmental Center receives 1 percent from sales.
   On the website, residents can also obtain more information about solar photo voltaics, solar water heating, and pricing.
   Mentioning the plans for the Madras City Hall to have a solar-powered quick station, Smiley said that it is "a sign of the forward-thinking of the city of Madras."
   She hopes other local residents will follow the city's example "and take advantage of our abundant Central Oregon sun."