Group hopes to bring more solar power to Middle Georgia


    MACON, Ga. -- Solarize Middle Georgia kicked off with an event in Macon Tuesday night. The group's goal is to help more homeowners get solar on their roofs.

    The group connects homeowners who are interested in installing solar panels and batteries. By purchasing as a group, Solarize says consumers can get the same technology at a lower price. Some have compared it to shopping in bulk at a warehouse store.

    Solarize representatives say that the average cost of installation is around $15,000, but that the money saved on utility bills adds up to more than that in the long run.

    Even before Solarize came to town, several Middle Georgia organizations were finding success with the technology.

    The Historic Macon Foundation (HMF) had been considering installing panels on their downtown headquarters for some time, but only made the move last year when prices for solar technology fell.

    "When we looked at the return on investment and the timing of the payback, it really just seemed like a no-brainer," said Ethiel Garlington with H.M.F.

    Macon-Bibb County has also been getting in on solar power.

    "It's exciting to have a couple of projects in the works," said Sam Kitchens, director of Macon-Bibb Parks and Beautification.

    One of the of the projects that's nearing completion is a Bibb County Sheriff's Office building in downtown Macon.

    Kitchens said the county is spending money for these projects out of pocket, but that it's good business in the long-term.

    "The savings for the lifetime of the solar panel pays back for the cost of the project," he said.

    Kitchens added that the county is helping Solarize Middle Georgia to spread awareness, but is not providing financial support.

    "They're lending support and lending resources as far as getting the word out," he said.

    Solarize Middle Georgia is part of a national movement and is the ninth Solarize program in Georgia, behind Tybee Island, Savannah, Athens, Decatur-DeKalb, Dunwoody, Atlanta, Carrollton-Carroll and Newton and Morgan counties.

    You can learn more about Solarize Middle Georgia here, or by calling 770-288-0440.

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