By Matt Kroschel


SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– The solar business is booming in Summit County right now, thanks to the Solarize Summit Program. The rush is on to get solar projects installed before the end of the year.

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Many property owners are taking advantage of a program that helps make the switch from traditional energy sources to solar, more affordable.

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“We wanted to make it easier for people who are interested in installing solar, to do so,” said Jess Hover, climate action director of High Country Conservation.“The more people who signed up, the bigger the discount would be.”

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CBS4 visited one home about to turn on their newly installed roof top panels. The owners say they are confident the upfront cost will be worth it in the long run.

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“If you put something in today, it’s like putting money in the bank,” said homeowner Mark Stoveken.

Stoveken’s meter actually keeps track of how much energy he’s putting into the grid and not taking out. He banks the excess power generated to pay for days when the sun is not shining.

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So many people signed up, the program has exhausted its supply of spots for people living in unincorporated Summit County.

“We are at nearly 60 people that have signed contracts to install solar. Not everyone has it installed yet, but we’re working on it. We have more than doubled the amount of rooftop residential solar that was installed in Summit County last year,” said Hover.

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The nonprofit is leveraging the power of bulk buys to help lower the costs for people involved.

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“For us it made a big difference because there was a rebate offered through the county and through High Country Conservation, along with the installer. And also the federal incentive of 30% off on your federal income tax for renewable energy,” said Stoveken.

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Some of the federal tax breaks for installing solar are dropping off starting next year. The tax breaks will drop from 30% to 26% and then 22% and then disappear completely under the current federal plan.

Hover is hoping this success will continue if they bring the program back again next summer.

LINK: High Country Conservation

Matt Kroschel

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