A few years ago, I had the pleasure of taking a Danube River cruise. As we sailed down the river through Germany, in the midst of the beautiful scenery, I couldn’t help but notice the ubiquitous solar panels on homes, businesses and even farm buildings.

Germany leads the world in per capita solar photovoltaic energy production. Solar energy generates as much as 7 percent of electricity produced in Germany and over 30 percent of electricity in Germany is renewable, in each case far more than we produce here in the U.S. Even though much of Germany receives less sun than Rochester, governmental policies have greatly increased the use of solar energy in Germany.

To encourage greater use of solar energy here in the Rochester area, I recently joined residents of Brighton, Irondequoit and Rochester to announce the Solarize the Flower City 2016 campaign at Rochester City Hall. Solarize the Flower City is managed by ROCSPOT, a local nonprofit corporation supported by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, which manages a program to make solar energy more accessible and cheaper for Brighton residents.

ROCSPOT and the Town of Brighton held the first Solar Assembly on April 3 at Brighton Town Hall to kick off the Solarize program in Brighton. This was the first of five solar assemblies that will be held in Brighton during the Solarize 2016 project.

At these assemblies, residents and small business owners can learn about solar energy and meet with solar installers that have been vetted by ROCSPOT and have committed to pricing based on a bidding process to make it easier and more affordable to install solar energy equipment. At the Assembly, you can meet with ROCSPOT representatives and representatives from the solar installers to get answers to your questions, get competitive quotes for installation of a solar energy solution on your home or place of business and talk to Town of Brighton representatives about any necessary permits and approvals. Then you decide if adding solar energy panels to your roof is right for you.

The Solarize program will also have pricing incentives for low and moderate income families, to make sure that people who need the savings the most can better afford to solarize their homes.

For more information about the Solarize the Flower City 2016 program and what you can expect at a Solar Assembly, visit the ROCSPOT webpage at rocspot.org. Solar energy is one more opportunity we can take advantage of to make Brighton a more sustainable community, but just as importantly, it is an opportunity to save money at the same time.

Chalk up another win-win for Brighton.

William Moehle

Brighton Town Supervisor