Let’s work for energy independence

By Matt Rexroad

Energy independence means different things to different people. No energy source will better help residents hedge against rising electricity costs and move from dirty sources of energy more than solar. It is a domestic, reliable, renewable and abundant solution.

On this Independence Day, consider this: Enough solar energy hits the United States each hour to power our nation for a year.

In 2008, local governments and other organizations, including school districts and universities, joined the Yolo County Climate Change Compact. These jurisdictions — including Yolo County and the cities of Davis, Winters, Woodland and West Sacramento — pledged to take steps to offer programs that engaged citizens in reducing climate change through energy conservation and renewable energy solutions like solar.

If you’ve been thinking about putting solar panels on your roof, or fixing those leaky windows and ducts, but were put off by the cost, throughout the month of July the Yolo Climate Compact is providing homeowners with an opportunity to learn if these solutions are right for their home through a limited-time program called Energy Benefits Yolo. (For details, visit www.mygroupenergy.com/group/yolo.)

Energy Benefits Yolo is a new group-discount program for energy-efficiency upgrades and solar installations led by the Yolo Climate Compact and the non-profit ICLEI — Local Governments for Sustainability USA. By pooling buying power of the community, the program offers residents the ability to add solar energy to their homes at prices that are 20 percent lower than the average cost of solar in Yolo County.

The program also helps homeowners by taking the guesswork out of selecting a reputable vendor, as it uses certified contractors that went through a vetting and approval process.

Woodland City Councilman Tom Stallard said, “I used the program to install solar on my house and have been impressed with the results and want others to know about this opportunity.”

The Yolo Climate Compact’s motivation for the program is to encourage residents to at least consider energy-efficiency upgrades and solar energy for their home.

“Solar energy is a great way to stabilize your energy costs for the next 25 years,” reports Yolo Energy Watch program manager John-Mott-Smith of Davis.

Summer necessities in Yolo County like air-conditioning and swimming pool pumps can add significant cost to electric bills. Installing new insulation and harnessing solar power is a great way for families throughout our community to become energy-independent and live comfortably year-round without spending a fortune.

The on-site solar assessment is free (electricity and solar hot water), and the on-site energy-efficiency assessment is discounted to $99 for most homes (normally $500).

As chairman of the Yolo Climate Compact, I am proud to champion this program along with the mayors of Davis, Winters, Woodland and West Sacramento. To date, 220 residents have participated in Energy Benefits Yolo. Join your neighbors and get signed up at www.mygroupenergy.com/group/yolo to receive a no-obligation assessment by July 31.

— Matt Rexroad of Woodland is a member of the Yolo County Board of Supervisors.

Special to The Enterprise

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