Sun on horizon: Solarize Charlotte 2024 helps save on energy bills

The town plan, resoundingly approved with 82 percent of the vote in 2019, calls for Charlotte to meet 25 percent of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2025, 40 percent by 2035 and 90 percent by 2050.

This year the town itself made big advances toward this goal by installing the large renewable energy project — a 100-kilowatt solar system installed by SunCommon — on the new town garage building.

With a desire for all Charlotters, not only the town, to benefit from renewable energy, the Charlotte Energy Committee has run a solarize program for the last two years.

Solarize Charlotte 2024 has expanded from last year and is now working with four locally owned solar installers and offering a minimum, pre-negotiated 3 percent discount. Using a simple form on the Charlotte Energy Committee website, town residents can request a free assessment from any or all of the vendors, compare proposals from each installer and then choose the one that best suits the opportunity.

Getting solar assessments doesn’t require a financial commitment. At the very least, Solarize Charlotte participants will learn something about their property’s solar potential, their energy use and how generating renewable energy reduces electricity costs and mitigates the volatility of fossil fuel prices.

If you have a roof or field with sun exposure, the economics of residential solar almost always work in the long term. The combination of tax incentives from the Inflation Reduction Act, the Charlotte Energy Committee discount and Efficiency Vermont financing options often save thousands of dollars over the life of the system.

The Solarize Charlotte 2024 participating companies include All Earth Renewables, Building Energy, Green Mountain Solar and Harvestar Power. They provide a wide range of green energy solutions in addition to solar, from weatherization and heat pump installations, to roof- or ground-mounted solar.

Last year, the energy consumption mix of Charlotte’s town-owned properties was almost 40 percent electric.

With the addition of the town garage solar panels, which went online on Earth Day, the town’s current electricity needs will be met with lower-cost, renewable energy. To meet town goals, however, the town of Charlotte will eventually need to replace its carbon intensive heating and cooling systems with more efficient heat-pumps and generate more electricity to run them. These changes will bring greater efficiency, cost savings, cleaner indoor air, greater comfort and decarbonization of the town’s energy footprint. This win-win-win concept of replacing inefficient systems with efficient renewable sources, while saving money and decarbonizing, can be employed for almost any Charlotte resident with access to private or community solar programs.

While the goal for the town to generate almost all of its own electricity might seem daunting, in fact it requires very little area, just 0.4 percent of the town’s 26,505 acres, whether rooftop, parking garage or field. (See graphic.)

By continuing to promote the benefits of the Solarize program, the Charlotte Energy Committee hopes the town and its residents will engage in a virtuous cycle of encouraging each other toward greater renewable energy production. To learn more visit

(Jim Hodson and Rebecca Foster are members of the Charlotte Energy Committee.)