In January 2015, there were nine Point Breeze homes with solar energy systems. In February, the Point Breeze Organization and a team of volunteers, led by PBO President Larry Gerson and Point Breeze resident and solar owner Fred Kraybill, joined the Solarize Allegheny campaign with a goal to double the number of solar installations in the community.
Solarize Allegheny is a campaign managed by SmartPower, a non-profit marketing firm for clean energy, and funded by the Heinz Endowments to double the number of solar installations in Allegheny County in two years. The program provides education about the benefits of solar energy and connects people to pre-screened, qualified, local solar installers. The Point Breeze Organization applied to participate in the first round of communities in the project. Solarize Point Breeze launched at Pino’s Restaurant on February 8 when almost 70 people came out to learn more about going solar. Following the launch, volunteers organized other events at St. Bede’s church and at Homewood branch of the Carnegie Library, as well as two solar tours and a Solar Trivia Night at the East End Brewery.
The campaign officially ended in June and Point Breeze met its goal with nine new solar owners (read about them here) for a total of 18 solar homes--making it the solar-est community in all of western Pennsylvania. The first homeowners to go solar through the program were the Taylors on Willard St. Their journey to solarize was featured in the documentary short by filmmaker Kirsi Jansa from Sustainability Pioneers. You can watch the Rooftop Transition video here. The Taylors' next door neighbor was so enthralled with solar that he too went solar.
To date, more than 60 Point Breezers have requested a solar quote through the program. While some of them found out that their roof had too much shading or there were other considerations that made solar unattainable, many of those 60 homeowners are still in the decision-making phase, so we anticipate many of them to join the solar bandwagon in the near future. In addition, Point Breeze residents can still go through the program and request a quote by going to the website www.solarizeallegheny.org and clicking on the blue button that says “Find Out if My Home is Good for Solar.” After filling out your contact information and details about your electric bill and roof, you will be contacted by two solar installation companies that will provide a solar quote.
Larry Gerson, PBO president, was correct when he stated at the beginning of the program in February, “Point Breeze is a gem of a neighborhood and we are now shining brighter with this solar initiative.”
Project Director, Solarize Allegheny
Vice President, SmartPower
Solar installation at the home of John and Louise Taylor, Willard Street
Photos © Louise Taylor