Written by CT Solar Challenge Assistant Director, Maggie Treichel
The Peter Mezzeti Show hosted an interview with Clinton’s Chair of the Energy Committee, Paul Gebauer, and President of Aegis Solar, Chris Lenda, to get a better understanding of all the new developments that is happening in Clinton. “The Peter Mezzetti Show” airs weekly on Tuesdays from 7:00-7:30 pm on public access Channel 19. Shore Community Television (VSCTV) serves the towns of Durham, Haddam, Killingworth, Chester, Deep River, Essex, Clinton, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook. It can be viewed on Comcast Clinton channel 19, on AT&T U-verse, and online at www.vsctv.com
Paul Gebauer was just a curious Clinton resident who was watching Madison’s progress as they started the CT Solar Challenge. After going to Madison’s Workshop in April and seeing nearly 300 people attend he wanted to get the ball rolling for his town. With the encouragement and guidance of Selectman William Fritz, on July 3rd, Paul was elected as Chair of Clintons new Energy Task Force. Joining him in his efforts to raise awareness and tackle the energy efficient technology is, Eric Bergman, Raymond Rigat, Leah Saunders, and Aiden Moran. Paul and his team are currently looking to recruit two more members. “I’m looking for people who have a passion for the environment.” Paul said.
The first line of business for the new Energy Task Force was taking the Clean Energy Community Pledge. The pledge is a commitment for the community to support energy efficiency and renewable energy, creating a cleaner future today and for generations to come. Jointly offered by the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA) and the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund, the Clean Energy Communities program offers three simple steps to help community leaders, households, and local businesses work together to set clean energy goals and be rewarded for their achievements. This information can be found at www.energizeCT.com.
There are many ways to become a clean energy community. Paul saw an opportunity for Home Energy Solutions (HES) to come help the residents of Clinton. Home Energy Solutions (HES), supported by Energize Connecticut, is an innovative solution to reducing your home’s energy bill. A CL&P authorized contractor will perform an energy assessment, make on-the-spot improvements, including caulking and sealing of critical air leaks, and, depending on your eligibility, provide exclusive money-saving rebates on appliances, HVAC systems and insulation. A fee will be collected at the time of service. “With CEFIA earned money, there is talk of new lights being installed down at the beach.” Said Paul.
After signing on with HES Paul wanted to introduce Clinton to CT Solar Challenge (CTSC). CTSC is represented by Owner of Aegis Solar Energy, Paul Lenda. Aegis is the Clinton Solar contractor selected by Paul to help with the challenge. CTSC is a a nonprofit organization that supports and promotes the adoption of solar energy in Connecticut through cost reduction, community outreach and solar energy education. Communities that sponsor the Connecticut Solar Challenge™ (CTSC) will earn a free solar energy system to be installed on a town property. The free solar energy system is based on the total kW installed through Connecticut Solar Challenge™ (CTSC). Making solar simple and affordable.
Peter Mezzetti asked all the right questions in an interview with Chris Lenda, from Aegis. He uncovered that CTSC gets a bulk purchasing rate, along with cutting out pricey marketing material and educating the public with Solar Coaches, they were able to get a special manufacturer pricing. Those savings are then passed on to the people of Clinton. Solar Coaches are community members who have solar knowledge and can help with questions in the community. Mark Catalina, Jamie Litz, Huy Lee, and Eric Berman are just a few of the volunteers available to Clinton residents.
Why Solar? Why now? “Now is the best time to go solar” said Chris Lenda. “With the potential 35% State Rebate, a 30% federal tax credit, along with the discounted group pricing. Solar is at a record low” he said. Chris went on to talk about CT Solar Lease and CT Solar Loan. CT Solar Loan has recognized the economic benefits of going solar and made the loan process lenient on people with little to no equity. In other words it is an unsecured loan that requires no home equity.
When it comes to solar there are many questions, like, what happens when there is a power outage? Or is there a way to generate my own energy independent of the power company? Chris explains how having a solar system does not mean you generate energy when there is a power outage. You still have to connect to the grid unless you install battery backup, in which case would cost more money.
We look forward to the Clintons Workshop October 16, at The Morgan School auditorium from 7-9pm. For more information on CTSC visit our website www.CTSolarChallenge.com. If you would like to see the interview from Peter Mezzeti visit http://petermezzettishow.blogspot.com/. If you want to check if your town took the Clean Energy Community Pledge go to www.energizeCT.com. To find out how you can join CT Solar Challenge, email info@CTSolarChallenge.com.