Freeport solar energy program expands, adds Durham, Pownal

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FREEPORT — Solarize Freeport is being revamped to include surrounding towns and to offer more bulk purchasing options.

Solarize Freeport 2.0 is a continuation of an initiative to reduce the cost of solar energy equipment for residents by encouraging enough people to sign up so the town could qualify for bulk pricing.

The effort is expanding to include Durham and Pownal residents.

“It’s more of an extension rather than something brand new,” Town Planner Donna Larson said. “The reason for that is that people keep making requests.”

There will be an information session at 9 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 27, at Freeport Town Hall for people who want to know more about Solarize Freeport 2.0.

The deadline to sign up for Solarize Freeport was in September, when 40 households signed up to participate. At an energy summit held in town in November, it was proposed to extend the program into 2016.

“The deadline passed in September 2015, but the requests keep coming in,” Larson said. “It’s a good problem to have.”

The town will continue to partner with Insource Renewables of Pittsfield and Assured Solar Energy of North Yarmouth, which are responsible for installing solar panels. Solarize Freeport coordinates installations and, this year, will also make available bulk purchasing of heat pumps, insulation, and pellet boilers.

Larson said she has already received inquiries about bulk purchasing for heat pumps and insulation.

All residents and businesses in Freeport, Durham and Pownal may participate, and can get a free quote at solarizefreeport.com. Although the program was originally intended for only Freeport, she said it’s beneficial to include additional municipalities.

“It seemed to be in Freeport’s best interest because the higher the volume (of participants), the lower the cost,” she said.

Rob Tassey, owner of Assured Solar Energy, said including more towns allows more people to control the source and cost of their energy.

“We’re confident that Solarize Freeport 2.0 will help more Freeport, Durham and Pownal residents take control of their energy future and help the environment at the same time,” Tassey said in a press release.

Participants in the program will qualify for the lowest pricing if they sign up before May 7. Signing up before Sept. 7 will also result in a discount.

Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or kgardner@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @katevgardner.

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I'm a reporter for The Forecaster covering Freeport, Yarmouth, Chebeague Island, and Cape Elizabeth. I'm from a small town in NH no one's ever heard of. When not reporting, I can be found eating pasta and reading books, often at the same time.