Solarize North Country Campaign Shines

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Courtesy photo

Solarize North Country campaign team, l to r: Kyra, Travis, and Evan from Mains Electric, and local volunteers Dan Crosby, David Van Houten, Tiffany Miller Graziano, Alex Graziano, and Serena Fagan.

By David Van Houten

Solarize North Country was a solar marketing initiative conducted by a small group of volunteers from Franconia, Sugar Hill, and Bethlehem, NH in the winter of 2023-24. The idea of a solarize campaign is simple: the local volunteers agree to help potential customers understand the systems and to do free publicity for a solar installer. In exchange, the solar company can offer discounted pricing. The goal is to make it easier for people to learn about solar energy systems and see if one makes sense for them.

Solarize North Country held a kickoff party at Iron Furnace Brewing in Franconia in November 2023 to introduce the campaign. This event was followed up over several months with seven residential solar open houses where the public was invited to visit with homeowners who were living with solar energy systems. There were also public events at the Littleton Food Co-op,  Rek’-Lis Brewing, and the Forest Society North at The Rocks. These events were advertised and reviewed in local papers and on the radio statewide. Vital financial and administrative support was provided by the North Country Alliance for Balanced Change, the Ammonoosuc Regional Energy Team, the Neil and Louise Tillotson fund of the NH Charitable Foundation, and the Tiny Seed Project.

The Solarize team solicited bids from more than a dozen solar companies in the region in order to select an installer. Mains Electric of Alton Bay, NH was the winning bidder, mostly because they agreed to cover a wide area and offered attractive discount pricing. The campaign sign-up concluded on March 31, 2024, and installations are in progress in our area. All systems qualified for the Solarize North Country 15% discount, resulting in a savings of more than $143,000 for North Country home owners just for the purchase and installation of the systems. Even more savings happen over the lifetime of the systems due to reduced electric bills.

The Solarize North Country campaign brought about:

More than 120 requests for estimates

35 installation contracts totaling more than 350 kw, enough to power about 60 homes

$955,000 of private investment in clean energy

All systems qualify for the Solarize North Country 15% discount, resulting in a savings of more than $143,000 for North Country homeowners

David Van Houten has served the Bethlehem Energy Commission since 2007. He can be reached at

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