Decatur’s ‘solarize’ campaign inspired by powerful start in Portland

A grassroots campaign to sign up homeowners and small businesses to bulk-buy solar energy installations for their rooftops in Decatur and DeKalb County is about a month away from a self-imposed deadline.

For an update on Solarize Decatur-DeKalb’s campaign, turn to myAJC.com.

Solarize Decatur-DeKalb is the third such project in Georgia since 2015.

But scores of communities have tried the strategy of grouping interested solar buyers to get better deals since a neighborhood in Portland, Ore., launched the idea in 2009, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

By 2012, three years after the first campaign, homeowners and businesses in Portland had installed 1.7 megawatts of solar units, according to the DOE.

The federal agency has published a guidebook on how solar advocates should put together the programs, which are aimed at making it easier and cheaper for homeowners and businesses to install solar power units on their properties.

The gist of a solarize campaign strategy: negotiate discounts with some qualified contractors; help homeowners with experts and education to simply the buying and installation process, and set deadlines to motivate people.

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