Solarize West Hartford Program a Success

Judy Allen tells West Hartford Town Council that the town has qualified for the second-lowest pricing tier with 2.5 months left in the program.

The Town Council on Tuesday was provided an update on Solarize West Hartford, the effort to encourage West Hartford residents install solar panels on their homes.

So far, according to Judy Allen, the Solarize West Hartford campaign, which is part of Solarize Connecticut, has generated 208 leads, 105 scheduled site visits (of which 95 have been completed), and 17 signed contracts.

The program still has 2.5 months left - until Feb. 18 - for people to sign up.

The more people who sign up, the less expensive it is, Allen said. Because of the number of participants, West Hartford is in the Tier 4 price range, which is the second lowest available. If more people sign up, the town can reach Tier 5, the lowest price level, Allen said.

Allen said that there have been three workshops - a fourth was scheduled for Dec. 10, but was canceled due to snow - and numerous appearances by Solarize West Hartford representatives at major events such as the Mitten Run, the Park Road Parade and Fall Fest.

The goal, Allen said, is to have 100 percent of West Hartford residents aware of the program.

Toward that end, Allen challenged the town councilors to sign up for a free site visit at their homes and promote the program in newsletters and in social media. She also called on the council to make solar energy more accessible to its residents through zoning ordinances.

“We need to be forward thinking so homeowners can take advantage [of solar energy],” Allen said.

Town Manager Ron Van Winkle told the council that the town is “doing really well” with the Solarize West Hartford program.

“We have a chance to hit the lowest tier,” he said.

Anybody interested in learning more about the program, including a free home visit, may visit the website at www.solarizect.com/westhartford.

In other business, the Town Council unanimously voted to reappointed Joseph O’Brien as the West Hartford corporation counsel for two more years.

O’Brien has served as the corporation counsel for 12 years, said Mayor Scott Slifka.

During that time, Slifka said, O’Brien has not gotten a raise.

“That is something that we’ve come to by agreement, which the taxpayers appreciate,” Slifka said. “ We are getting more value out of Joe than the year before. … Joe has been a great friend to all, and a great legal mind.”

Slifka also noted that O’Brien has served on the Town Council as deputy mayor.


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