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For Immediate Release Contact: Marjorie M. Wass/Chris Davis

(805) 687-3322

[email protected]

The Community Environmental Council Brings Solar Group Purchasing Discounts to Southern Santa Barbara County through “Solarize Santa Barbara”

“Solarize Santa Barbara” starts May 1 and is available through July 2011

Santa Barbara, CA, April 26, 2011 – The Community Environmental Council (CEC) announced, in a press conference today, the launch of “Solarize Santa Barbara,” a program designed to bring solar energy to South Santa Barbara County residences.  Megan Birney, the CEC’s Renewable Energy Specialist, spoke about the program.  Homeowner and solar power user, Daniel Emmett, spoke about his experiences having solar in his own home and Santa Barbara County Second District Supervisor, Janet Wolfe, talked about the importance of using the sun as a sustainable source of energy.  Mayor Helene Schneider also spoke and thanked the CEC for its efforts to help the Central Coast region move away from fossil fuel dependence.

“For anyone in southern Santa Barbara County who has ever thought about going solar, now is the time,“ said Megan Birney, Renewable Energy Specialist, Community Environmental Council.  “Solarize Santa Barbara will make it as easy as it can possibly be and we at the CEC will help guide homeowners through the entire process, as an unbiased expert resource.  It’s a win-win situation for everyone:  homeowners will get the best value solar system in their homes, lowering their electricity bills; they will be supporting local businesses; and we at the CEC are continuing to make our region fossil free by 2033.”

“Solarize Santa Barbara” is a group purchasing discount program for homeowners in Southern Santa Barbara County who want to go solar.  The program will be available for three months, May 2011 through July 2011 and during this time, South Santa Barbara County residents will be able to purchase solar at a set price, from two local installers: Sun Pacific Solar Electric and REC Solar.  After a rigorous application process, the CEC selected REC Solar and Sun Pacific Solar Electric based on their experience, quality and price and because they are giving homeowners the best solar systems at the best value.

By taking out the legwork for local residents in choosing a solar installer, the CEC is offering an objective, third party assessment.  South Santa Barbara County homeowners will not have to go through the time-consuming and often confusing process of getting multiple bids from solar installers on their home.

With the CEC acting as the “middleman”, “Solarize Santa Barbara” aims to:

o                    Reduce the costs of solar because community purchasing programs offer better discounts than individual buys

o                    Simplify contractor selection process

o                    Ensure quality

o                    Increase the amount of renewable energy in southern Santa Barbara County.

In order to participate, Solarize Santa Barbara participants must:

o        Live within the service territory (Southern Santa Barbara County which includes the cities of Santa Barbara, Carpinteria, Goleta and the Gaviota area).

o        Own a home that is suitable for solar installation.

o        Sign a contract with one of the CEC’s pre-qualified installers between May 1, 2011 and July 31, 2011.

To apply for “Solarize Santa Barbara”, homeowners can go to www.SolarizeSB.org for the simple, 5-minute application process.  Within one week of application, the solar installers will contact applicants to set up home evaluations.  Homeowners can also get more information on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/solarizesb

The CEC will host introductory workshops where residents can learn about energy efficiency, conservation, and solar energy.  “Solarize Santa Barbara” participants are strongly encouraged to attend one of the following sessions:

  • May 17, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.  at Unitarian Society, 1535 Santa Barbara Street, Santa Barbara
  • June 1, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. at Carpinteria Women’s Club, 1059 Vallecito Road, Carpinteria
  • June 7, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. at Goleta Community Center, 5679 Hollister Avenue, Goleta
  • July 17, at CEC’s Solar SUNday, Museum of Natural History, 2559 Puesta del Sol

In addition to getting a discounted price for solar power, Solarize Santa Barbara participants will be helping to support the CEC’s mission.  Included in the purchase price is a small one-time fee ($0.15 per installed watt) that is based on the size of their solar installation and will be paid by Sun Pacific Solar Electric and REC Solar directly to the CEC.  This fee will help the CEC continue to promote renewable energy in the Central Coast region and be self-sustaining, with no additional cost to the homeowner.

Through “Solarize Santa Barbara”, the CEC’s goal is to “solarize” 50 homes in Southern Santa Barbara County.

About the Community Environmental Council

Since 1970, the Community Environmental Council (CEC) has led the Santa Barbara region – and at times California and the nation – in creative solutions to some of the toughest environmental problems.  Today CEC is focused on eliminating the use of fossil fuels in the Central Coast region in one generation – Fossil Free by ’33. Find the CEC on the web at www.cecsb.org on Twitter @CECSB and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CECSB .

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