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Solarize tour rescheduled for Feb. 20

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By Matthew Clark
mclark@scbiznews.com
Published Feb. 12, 2016

An event aimed at showcasing the use of residential solar power in the Upstate has been rescheduled to Feb. 20.

The Upstate Solar Tour was initially scheduled for Jan. 23, but inclement weather caused officials with the nonprofit entity SmartPower to reschedule.

Here are the homes that are part of the Upstate Solar Tour

  • 401 Bridwell Lane, Travelers Rest: This home has a 7-kilowatt solar system that was installed by Sunstore Solar Energy Solutions.
  • 7 Konnarock Circle, Travelers Rest: A 6-kW solar system sits atop this home’s roof; the system was installed by Sunstore Solar Energy Solutions.
  • 601 Summit Bluff Drive, Greenville: This home has a 5-kW system installed on a shingle roof by Alder Energy Solutions.
  • 1 Trails Edge Court, Greenville: This home has been billed as “Greenville’s first mainstream zero-energy home” by producing as much energy as it consumes.

SOURCE: Solarize South Carolina

On Jan. 19, Greenville Mayor Knox White proclaimed the day “Solarize Greenville Day” as part of the initiative through Solarize South Carolina to “encourage more residential and small-commercial solar electric installation in the city.” The initiative worked along with the city’s Green Ribbon Advisory Committee’s effort to advocate for residential solar installations.

“We want to have Greenville live up to its name,” White said prior to the proclamation.

The tour will feature four stops and is self-guided. According to Ashley Edwards, community outreach manager for SmartPower, the tour includes three homes that have been fitted with solar panels and a fourth being constructed by Addison Homes with solar shingles.

“The tour is designed to highlight realistic solar options for everyone,” Edwards said, in a media release on the rescheduling of the tour.

According to Solarize South Carolina, the new home is in the Trailside community and is the first “mainstream zero-energy home in Greenville.” It was designed with solar shingles that help the house “produce as much electricity as it consumes.”

According to state figures, there were 580 solar installations in 2014, and Edwards said that has grown to 830 in 2015. The Courtyard by Marriott Greenville Downtown hotel and the One Building both have solar panels installed to generate energy. Edwards said there have been “nearly 2,000” inquiries in the state from homeowners and businesses looking to get an assessment to determine if solar is feasible on homes or property.

There are some incentives attached to solar installation. The General Assembly adopted a renewables portfolio standard that required all utilities to produce 2% of their aggregate capacity using renewable energy by 2021. In 2015, Duke Energy began offering a $1-per-watt rebate off the cost of a solar panel system. The federal government offers a 30% tax credit and the state provides for another 25% tax credit, according to the Clean Energy Authority.

The Upstate Solar Tour stops are all within 12 miles of each other, located north of Greenville near Berea and Travelers Rest.

Reach Matthew Clark at 864-235-5677, ext. 107, or @matthewclark76 on Twitter.

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