Solarize Philly launches 3rd year of using group buying power to make solar energy affordable

Pat Loeb
April 24, 2019 - 4:00 am
Solar panels.

Cindy Shebley/Getty Images


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — If you live in Philadelphia and you've been thinking about getting solar panels on your house, this should be the year you do it. 

That's the message from the Philadelphia Energy Authority as it launches the third year of its Solarize Philly program, with 2019 being the last year for the full tax credit on going solar. 

Leslie Gaines got estimates for solarizing her house of around $25,000, but when she called Solarize Philly, the price came down to $12,000 and she became one of the 360 homeowners who've taken advantage of the program's group buying power to go solar.

"I've been wanting to do this for over ten years and doing it mostly for future generations, for my son. I'm a mom and I really feel like we all need to do something to safeguard their future," she said. 

The more people who sign up for solar through Solarize Philly, the deeper the discounts. Customers are also eligible for a federal tax credit. 

But program manager Laura Rigell says that's being phased downward after 2019. 

"This is your last chance to cut the cost of solar by 30 percent," Rigell said. 


That's in addition to the savings of buying through the program, which Victor Young says is substantial.

"It was like maybe a $13,000 difference in what Solarize Philadelphia offered than what this company out in New Jersey offered me," Young said. 

And now, Young has no more utility bills. 

Customers like Young are mostly motivated by wanting to reduce carbon emissions. The savings make it possible and the program has a financing plan so that at least 20 percent of customers are low- and moderate-income.

Rigell says the program's main goal is to reduce carbon emissions but it has the side benefit of creating jobs.

"Rooftop solar generates the most jobs per dollar invested of any type of energy project," Rigell explained.

She says the program created 52 jobs just last year.

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