CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Property owners in the Piedmont Environmental Council's service area can sign up for a program to learn more about going solar.
The PEC covers the city of Charlottesville as well as the counties of Albemarle, Greene, Orange, Madison, Culpeper, Rappahannock, Fauquier, Clarke and Loudoun.
Homeowners can sign up for the Solarize Piedmont program and learn more about benefiting from discounted pricing on going solar.
Solarize Piedmont is a cooperative program between PEC and the Local Energy Alliance Program, or LEAP, with support from the Northern Virginia Regional Commission and the Rappahannock Rapidan Regional Commission that aims to help more people go solar.
The program offers free solar satellite assessments to see if solar would work for a given location, conducts community workshops on solar power, and connects residents and business owners with contractors.
It also leverages the collective buying power of communities to it can offer discounted prices.
PEC says the overall cost of home solar has dropped by more than 70 percent since 2010, and prices during the Solarize campaign also decreased by 25 percent between 2014 and 2017.
Each year, the Solarize Piedmont program tends to offer prices between 10 and 15 percent below comparable retail proposals.
PEC adds this is the last year people can qualify for the full 30 percent federal tax credit, which will begin to decrease every year until it is phased out in 2021.
LEAP and PEC will work to connect participants in the Solarize Piedmont program with information on the federal tax credit and local incentives, which may include real estate tax credits.
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For residents of Charlottesville and Albemarle County, there is also a chance to get a free Home Energy Check-up by one of LEAP's certified building analysts. In order to participate in this, send an email to email@example.com and mention the Solarize Piedmont program.