Decatur and DeKalb County residents and solar advocates gathered in downtown Decatur to discuss the framework of an important solar program that could help make Decatur and DeKalb Co. a solar leader. Hosts of the Town Hall include the Decatur Sustainability Board, Environment Georgia, Georgia Interfaith Power and Light and Solar Crowd Source.
“Decatur and DeKalb Co. have the sun, the engaged citizens, and the possible workforce to be a solar leader in the South,” said Environment Georgia director Jennette Gayer. “Solar energy is a proven, pollution-free resource, Solarize Decatur-DeKalb will help jump start our community’s big solar potential”
The town hall conversation focused on a solarize program for Decatur and DeKalb Co. residents that would use a bulk purchasing program to make solar cheaper and easier to take advantage of. Solarize programs have been used around the country, including here in Georgia where two solarize programs, Solarize Tybee and Solarize Athens, have doubled or tripled residential solar installations.
“The Decatur Community has some great examples of solar at work and a great track record of promoting sustainability, but it is time to take it to the next level, “ said Greg Coleson, chair of the Decatur Sustainability Board. “We are excited for homeowners, businesses and even our local governments to take advantage of this program and go solar!”
At the event, organizers asked the community to help prioritize the most important aspects of the Solarize Decatur-DeKalb program. Residents discussed and weighed in on the importance of innovation, American made components, a community solar project and more.
“Solar is such an important part of the solution to big problems like climate change and air pollution,” explained Kate McGregor Mosley, executive director of Georgia Interfaith Power and Light (GIPL). “It is exciting to see people coming together to help solve those problems as a community.” GIPL will be reaching out to churches in Decatur and DeKalb Co. to talk about being a part of the Solarize program in the coming months.
Organizers of the Town Hall will synthesize the feedback received and move forward with the next steps in the Solarize process which include streamlining the permitting process in the various DeKalb permitting offices, inviting solar providers to apply to be the chosen Solarize Decatur-DeKalb installer, and launching the program, likely in the late summer or early fall.
“In addition to streamlined permitting we hope the local governments in DeKalb will be inspired by Solarize Decatur-DeKalb and think seriously about visionary solar commitments,” said Gayer. “This program should just be the start of some big solar progress in the County.”