Greenwich is a Clean Energy Community
The Clean Energy Communities program was developed by the CT Clean Energy Fund (now Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority or CEFIA) to encourage Towns to support the use of clean energy with a goal of improving air quality and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. To participate in the program communities must first make the municipal pledge to reduce municipal energy use by 20 percent and voluntarily purchase 20 percent of their energy from renewable sources. In 2008 the Town of Greenwich Board of Selectmen passed a Clean Energy Resolution to participate in the Clean Energy Community program. The Clean Energy Community (CEC) Program extends to the entire community and is not limited to municipal facilities. CEC is an incentive based program where the community earns energy efficiency and renewable energy “points” when residents, businesses, and the Town take action to increase energy efficiency and participate in the variety of available clean energy programs. These points are redeemable with CEFIA for “Bright Idea Grants” and free photovoltaic solar systems for community buildings. The Conservation Commission has coordinated the CEC program in Greenwich; in January 2010 Greenwich had earned sufficient points and received a free 7.7 kilowatt (kW) photo voltaic solar system which was installed on the science building of Greenwich High School.
CLEAN ENERGY PROGRAMS AVAILABLE TO RESIDENTS AND BUSINESSES.
In July 2013 the Town of Greenwich renewed its commitment to the Clean Energy Communities program making it eligible for more Bright Idea Grants and free solar systems as incentive for participating in new and ongoing clean energy programs. The Conservation Commission is working to engage residential home owners to participate in the Solarize Greenwich program as well as commercial property owners for the C-PACE program. The more homeowners and businesses that participate in these programs the more the entire community will benefit!
Following an application by the Conservation Commission, Greenwich was selected by CEFIA on September 4th 2013 to participate in the Solarize CT program. Solarize Greenwich provides an opportunity for Greenwich homeowners to reduce their electricity bills by installing solar panel systems on their property at a dramatically discounted cost thanks to the power of group purchasing. Solarize Greenwich uses a tiered-pricing structure where the more residents sign up the more the cost of the solar panel system comes down for everyone. Solarize Greenwich is partnership that includes the Town of Greenwich, CEFIA, a clean energy non- profit group Smart Power, and a competitively selected solar panel installer Renewable Resources Energy Solutions of Stamford, CT. The Solarize Greenwich program kicks off October 2nd at 7pm in the Town Hall meeting room and lasts for 20 weeks. As an added benefit, each solar system installed through Solarize Greenwich will earn Greenwich 3 points through the CEC program.
The Conservation Commission is assembling a team of Solar Ambassadors to help promote the Solarize Greenwich program. Residents who are interested in promoting clean energy and working with the Conservation Commission, CEFIA, and Renewable Resources are encouraged to email Conservation Director Denise Savageau. Solar ambassadors will help the Solarize Greenwich marketing campaign by distributing informative materials, working at events, and sharing your experiences with your own solar installation.
Connecticut Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) is an innovative financing program that provides owners of commercial, industrial, and multi-family properties access to affordable long term financing for energy efficiency and clean energy upgrades to their buildings. In 2013 the Board of Selectman and the RTM voted for Greenwich to become a C-PACE community. C-PACE allows building owners to finance qualifying projects by placing a voluntary assessment on their property tax bill; the cost of the improvements are paid back overtime on the property tax bill. The assessment remains with the property even if ownership changes; as a result low interest capital can be raised from the private sector to finance qualifying improvements such as energy efficient boilers, new windows, solar panel installations, and energy efficient lighting. These improvements will give owners of commercial buildings to access cleaner, cheaper, and more reliable energy. For the purposes of C-PACE all non-residential buildings including religious institutions and NGO’s, or residential with 5 or more dwelling units, are considered commercial. As an additional benefit Greenwich will earn 20 points for each completed C-PACE program and an additional 5 points for each application for C-PACE funding through the Clean Energy Community Program. The First Selectman, in coordination with the Conservation Commission, is hosting a reception and program on Sept 19, 2013 from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. to kickoff C-PACE in Greenwich. All commercial real estate owners are cordially invited to attend. RSVP required to 203-622-6461.
What is the Town doing about CleanEnergy?
In addition to the solar system installed at GHS as part of the Clean Energy Community program, the Town of Greenwich has completed a number of other clean energy projects at municipal buildings. As part of an ongoing commitment to clean energy the Town of Greenwich installed a large 95kW solar photovoltaic system on the roof of Glenville middle school as well as part of a Clean Energy Block Grant. Additionally, a geothermal heating and cooling system was installed at Hamilton middle school which will reduce the cost and energy consumption of heating and cooling the school. The Town DPW has upgrading all lighting and has installed small solar panel systems where appropriate around town and the Parking division is exploring a pilot installation of a charging station for electric vehicles. Energy conservation and alternative energy solutions are becoming standard operating procedures for most departments and in the future will result in significant savings.