This is Arista’s second solarize campaign in the less-populated areas outside of Rochester in upstate New York. The company installed solar for 28 homeowners in Madison County in 2011. The model works and the company is happy to be able to apply it in another community, said Cherrie Mahon, spokeswoman for Assurant.
“Hornell is a small city and a very progressive community,” Mahon said. “The leadership there is very interested in renewable energy.”
She said the city already has two municipal solar installations.
“The solarize genesis really starts at the top,” Mahon said. “But the main purchasers are actually the residents.”
For a project to work, the city leadership has to be behind it, Mahon said. The city provides space and a seal of approval. Arista offers education and outreach programs explaining solar power to residents and offering them incentives. There’s no cost to the city, Mahon said, and no obligation from anyone.
The first 10 homeowners who sign up for solar will get $1,000 off their purchase price as long as they agree to be solar ambassadors and talk with the media about what they’re doing and why. And once the city reaches a certain kilowatt benchmark, Arista will knock 20 percent off the cost to everyone.
“It’s a pretty big discount,” Mahon said.
And it’s a big motivator to get friends and neighbors on board. The reason Arista can offer the deal is that installing more solar in a small area cuts down on travel expenses and labor.
The company will bring some of its nationally certified solar installers to Hornell, but will also train local contractors and employ local people in the solarize project.
The solarize projects are good for Arista and for the communities where the company works. There are efficiencies and cost savings for residents and a steady revenue stream for the company.
Mahon said she will be happy if there are 20 solar installations in Hornell during this solarize campaign.
“And if it’s successful, we can come back next year and a do a follow-up campaign,” she said.