This week’s blog is from Grant Tallon, solar power brainiac with Hannah Solar and new member of our local community (a great addition, if we do say so!). Read on as Grant charges up Savannah’s self-image with insights on the solarization of Chatham County. FYI – – The Creative Coast’s blogspot is Savannah’s sounding board for local thinkers, innovators, wanderers and wonderers. Guest bloggers share their thoughts, opinions and creative noodling from all over the map…
Savannah is one of those hidden gems I’m still surprised hasn’t been overrun with moving trucks and cruise ships. We’ve lived in quite a few big cities; Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco, Maui, but honestly, they don’t hold a candle to this lovely coastal city. The richness of history and tradition juxtaposed with the progress of Savannah’s up and coming, largely fueled by the innovation of SCAD, makes for a town brimming with possibility. If you are a maker, or a mover, or a shaker, it’s the place to be. Plus you’re twenty minutes from the beach – pretty hard to beat.
This combination of qualities made it the perfect home for what would one day be the largest Solarize Program in the Southeast and the poster-child for Solarize Programs moving forward. The idea really began with the Tybee City Council, specifically, Paul Wolff. Paul is a powerhouse of a man, committed to protecting our environment and specifically his home, beautiful Tybee.
If you live in the area, you may have seen Paul ride by in one of his two modes of transportation: his Quadricycle, pulling a trailer filled with campaign posters, or driving on sunshine in his solar powered golf cart. Over the course of the program, Paul was always ready and willing to lend a hand and help spread the word. We owe a huge part of the program’s success to his passion and connectivity.
Solarize Tybee would work like this: the program offers competitive pricing in a tiered system using the power of bulk purchasing, meaning prices decrease when more people participate in the program. We like to think of it as the “Costco” model for solar, and the savings are truly incredible. John Rabun, a Tybee Island resident, who installed a 7.8 KW system, said “I checked into solar five years ago, and it would have been two-thirds more than I paid for my system today.” The model is really a win–win for both installers and homeowners.
However, what started with Tybee, of course did not end with Tybee. Not even a month into the program, submissions from Savannah and the surrounding islands began to flood our inbox. Originally intended for just Tybee Island, the Tybee City Council agreed there was too much goodness not to share. The program was extended throughout all of Chatham County.
There were over 600 inquiries about the Solarize Program. Half of these were determined poor candidates due to shading or roof space. Of the 300 that were possibilities, the program ended with 62 signed contracts and over 340 KW of solar to be installed. The response from the community was overwhelmingly supportive to say the least, a huge testament to the people here and the momentum born from the program. The results were nothing short of amazing. The program tripled the solar capacity in Chatham County and saturated the coast with solar awareness. Its legacy has already begun spurring other Solarize programs throughout the Southeast.
For Hannah Solar, the program was a huge success. We realized Savannah was a city where big things were happening and would only keep gaining momentum. We believe in this city so much that we are proud to announce that Hannah Solar will be opening an additional office in Savannah, located at The Creative Coast, officially making Savannah our permanent home. We’re looking forward to the all of the opportunities, both residential and commercial, that Savannah has to offer.
Regional Manager of Business Development
About Hannah Solar:
Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, Hannah Solar is a full service, certified solar integrator dedicated to providing the very best in engineering, products, installation and service of solar arrays, electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, energy storage systems and critical backup generators. Hannah Solar was listed as one of Inc. 5000’s Fastest Growing Companies for the second year in a row (2014, 2015). www.hannahsolar.com