And Madison County is well ahead of the trend. In fact, it's the first county in New York to start it's own solar program. Solarize Madison County is a solar program that lessens the cost of installing solar energy. And since the program began in early June, over 20 homeowners have signed contracts. Coordinators say in just a few short months, the program will have doubled the amount of solar systems in Madison County.
"We've done more in 1 year than the county did in 8 years," says Scott Ingmire, Madison County Planning Department.
Scott Ingmire is talking about sustainable energy, and he says Madison County residents are going solar.
"24 homeowners have signed up for approximately 154 kilowatts of installed solar," says Ingmire.
So what does this mean?
"We're using the sun to power the house and we might be able to produce more energy then we use," says Martin Staller, new solar homeowner.
"In his situation, it's giving the homeowner i believe here, 100% of his energy is provided by the solar panels that are on his house," says Glenn Steed, Arista Power solar contractor.
Not only does the solarize program bring environmental and economic benefits, but solar contractors say it's also bringing jobs to the community.
"We're actually working with a local electrical contractor out of Oneida, we're working with local excavation contractors, we're really trying to keep as much spending as we can right in the local area so hopefully we can increase some jobs in the community," says Steed.
Ingmire says solar has also become much more affordable.
"Average price per watt in New York last year was $6.50 dollars. With this program we're down to $4.00 dollars a watt," says Ingmire.
And it's a program that spans generations.
"Folks getting ready to retire, they see that and they think man, I can eliminate that variable when I'm on a fixed income from now until the next 30 years," says Steed.
"Gives you quite a bit of pay back; $2,000 dollars grant from Madison County and a grant from federal government against your taxes," says Staller.
"For younger folks its a great way to do the right thing for the environment, get energy needs provided for and just start making the small changes that we need to have," says Steed.
The Solarize Madison program will be hosting a solar tour tomorrow that will feature 3 solar powered homes in the community. And coordinators say the Solarize program has added an extended enrollment deadline to next Friday, October 12th.
For more information:
www.solarizemadison.com or call the Madison County Planning Department (315) 366-2498