As of Dec 1st we've opened up the Southeast Como Solar Pilot Project to all of Minneapolis. We had an initial goal of twenty participants so we could reach our "bulk purchase" minimul level. As of today we are at 19 people signed up, but I know that for some it just won't work out due to shade, trees, etc... The details of the pilot project which focuses on solar hot water heating (solar thermal) can be found on Southeast Como's website. under "Sign me up for Solar".

The basics: Typical residential solar hot water heating systems cost about $7,000-$7,500 to install in a retrofit situation. Hot water heating for the typical home represents about 20-25% of the annual energy costs. Project participants would benefit in this partnership with a local solar installer (Innovative Power Systems) and neighborhood organization by having about $1,500 knocked off the cost of the system bringing it down to $6,000. Additionally, the normal site visit fee of $195 is reduced to $60 for project participants. The recent federal energy bill included a tax credit of 30% (capped at $2,000 for residential) for people who install solar, either electric or thermal. System cost after tax time should be about $4,200--still expensive but half off where you would be before the pilot or tax credit.

There is more information available online at Southeast Como's website, The deadline to sign up is Dec 31st for the initial pilot. We'll see where it goes and if we can find funding to coordinate other bulk purchases for solar equipment for more neighbors and neighborhoods.

Justin Eibenholzl
Work in Southeast Como

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