CARRBORO -An initiative to install at least 50 solar panels on the rooftops of Carrboro homes is moving forward this year.

“In the past, I thought – many of us thought – widespread adoption of solar panels on roofs was something that would occur someday in the future, but never really get there,” said Rob Pinder of Next Climate Inc., a non-profit Carrboro organization.

“But I think that, really, that time is now.”

Next Climate Inc. has been working closely with Town of Carrboro staff as well as NC Solar Center, a technical and research group at NC State.

Together, they created the project Solarize Carrboro. And this year, they’re taking action.

“It’s certainly feasible to get to something like a 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by widespread adoption of solar panels,” said Pinder.

Pinder presented a report to the Carrboro Board of Aldermen this past Tueday night. Back in 2009, the Board passed a resolution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Carrboro.

That was the same year that a group of neighbors in Portland, Oregon banded together to negotiate a group discount from a local solar panel installer.

“The Department of Energy saw this,” Pinder said. “They thought, ‘This is a great idea. Let’s try to replicate this all over the country.”

The DOE provided assistance for expert groups to work with citizens all over the country to solarize their towns.

Right now, the Solarize project managers are reviewing proposals, and will announce a vetted installer on February 21.

Solarize hopes to start home assessments on March 1. The first big kickoff meeting will be April 2.

“The purpose of that will be to explain the program,” said Pinder, “and help people understand every aspect of the solar process so that they can make sure that their installation is a great fit for their home.”

People will also get the opportunity to sign up. It’s a limited time offer. Signups end on May 30, so that installations can be completed in time for homeowners to be eligible for a tax break at the end of the year.

The goal for this year is at least 50 homes in Carrboro. Pinder said there have been 30 inquiries already.

More information is available at