Last fall, Raleigh’s city council endorsed the N.C. Solar Center’s Solarize Raleigh program. The nonprofit-led program brings homeowners together to get a bulk rate on solar panel installation and is funded in part by federal grant money.
Local solar installers now want the city council to withdraw its support from the program, according to North Raleigh News. The solar firms believe that the program creates unfair competition by subsidizing whichever company that agency selects. Installers also posit that consumers will lose sight of all the current solar options if they are directed to one firm. “It threatens the current fair free marketplace that we have in the solar industry,” claims Dan Lezama of Sun Dollar Energy
Contrarily, Solar Center director Steve Kalland says that the program will create publicity for solar energy, therefore increasing demand and helping local installers. With over 100 households as the goal for solar installation in Raleigh, the costs would be cut by 25 percent compared to other cities.
Solar officials hope that multiple competitors will get the contract for the program. “We really want to emphasize that installers can team together and work together in creating a bid and creating a unified customer experience,” says project manager Jim Kennerly.
Requests for proposals will shortly be issued. Meanwhile, the city council has referred the complaints to its technology and communications committee, which will review ways to market the program and look at the Solarize Raleigh program as a whole in its upcoming meeting.
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