Rocky Hill, Conn., July 12, 2012 —The Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA), The John Merck Fund, and SmartPower announce the launch of Solarize Connecticut, a pilot residential solar program (Program) that aggregates homeowners across communities to offer discounted prices for residential solar power.

 The Program will be piloted in four communities selected through a competitive solicitation process. Durham, Fairfield, Portland, and Westport were selected for the first phase of the Solarize Connecticut Program based on an ability to execute an effective outreach and community based campaign.

 “We are extremely excited to be chosen as one of the pilot communities,” said First Selectwoman Susan Bransfield of Portland. “This is exactly the kind of program that will help us expand solar in our community and offer an excellent investment opportunity for our residents.”

The Solarize Connecticut model is designed to drive down the cost of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems for residential consumers. The more residents who sign up to install solar, the greater the price declines. Because the installer, the technology and the exact price of PV are already provided in the Solarize Connecticut Program, it will be easier for residents to make the decision to install solar. Similarly modeled programs in Oregon and Massachusetts have successfully delivered a lower cost to consumers.

“We are very excited about launching Solarize Connecticut through our partnership with The John Merck Fund and SmartPower,” said Bryan Garcia, president and CEO of CEFIA. “This program builds on our efforts to drive down costs in the residential PV market here in Connecticut. Through our selected Clean Energy Communities, we will aggregate customer demand and continue to work toward developing a sustainable market that attracts private capital investment.”

Ten years ago, CEFIA and The John Merck Fund invested in SmartPower to create the award-winning Clean Energy Communities campaign. The partners are coming together again to launch Solarize Connecticut — a program which they are hopeful will achieve success in driving down the cost of residential solar.

“The John Merck Fund is spending out so we have ten years to help build New England’s clean energy future,” said Ruth Hennig, Executive Director of The John Merck Fund. “Our new partnership with CEFIA and SmartPower, which is launching Solarize Connecticut as part of the New England Solar Challenge, is a strong beginning, and we’re excited about the potential for other states to join with Connecticut.”

“Our Arizona Solar Challenge helped us crack the code on marketing residential solar installations,” said Brian F. Keane, president of SmartPower. “Now we’re more excited than ever to add Solarize to our efforts and bring solar to rooftops throughout Connecticut."

The initial pilot phase will run from mid-July through the end of 2012. The best practices and lessons learned from these four towns will then be applied to a second opt-in phase of the Connecticut pilot in early 2013.

"Our team of elected officials and volunteer residents came together to create a plan to promote Solarize Connecticut in our community. We are ready to begin implementation of the plan." said First Selectman Laura Francis of the Town of Durham. “It’s gratifying and exciting to be selected to participate in the pilot effort and to see how well we can advance solar technology in Durham and the State of Connecticut."

 For additional information please visit www.ctcleanenergy.com/solarizect.

About the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority

CEFIA was established by Connecticut’s General Assembly on July 1, 2011 as a part of Public Act 11-80. This new quasi-public agency supersedes the former Connecticut Clean Energy Fund. CEFIA’s mission is to help ensure Connecticut’s energy security and community prosperity by realizing its environmental and economic opportunities through clean energy finance and investments. As the nation’s first full-scale clean energy finance authority, CEFIA will leverage public and private funds to drive investment and scale-up clean energy deployment in Connecticut. For more information about CEFIA, please visit www.ctcleanenergy.com.

About The John Merck Fund

Based in Boston, Massachusetts, The John Merck Fund was established in 1970 by the late Serena Merck and is now in its third generation of family leadership. Starting in 2012, The John Merck Fund will spend all of its assets over the next ten years to spur progress in clean energy, environmental health, development of a New England regional food system, and treatment of developmental disabilities. For more information, please visit www.jmfund.org.

About SmartPower

SmartPower is the nation’s leading non-profit organization dedicated to promoting clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency. SmartPower’s award-winning, research-based campaigns have engaged people across the country, building the clean energy marketplace and helping Americans become smarter about their energy use. SmartPower is leading the New England Solar Challenge effort which is intended to accelerate the adoption of Solar PV throughout the region. For more information, please visit www.smartpower.org.

Contact: David Goldberg
Director, Government and External Relations
Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority
Phone: (860) 257-2889