The Mountain Association often gets questions from home owners and renters who are looking for relief from high energy bills. Unfortunately, our programs are only available to small businesses, non-profits, and local governments. Because we know there is a huge need for home energy savings, we plan to keep this list of resources up-to-date to help you explore your options when it comes to energy efficiency, as well as solar, for your home.
If you’re looking for relief from high energy bills, there are a number of measures you can take to improve your home’s energy efficiency. A good place to start is by contacting your local utility company as they may offer free or low-cost home energy audits, or other assistance programs.
There are also several nonprofits in the state offering weatherization and home repair programs, as well as energy bill payment assistance. Many of these require you be in a certain county or have a certain income. Here are some options:
- Kentucky’s Weatherization Assistance Program is administrated by the Community Action Kentucky’s 22 local Community Action Agencies:
- Affordable housing nonprofits offering home repair (which can lead to energy savings!):
- Beattyville Housing & Development (Lee)
- Christian Appalachian Project (Jackson, McCreary, Owsley, & Rockcastle CALL: 606-392-4375; Floyd, Johnson, Martin, Knott & Magoffin CALL: 606-887–3126)
- COAP (Harlan, Bell & Leslie)
- Frontier Housing (Bath, Boyd, Carter, Elliott, Fleming, Greenup, Lawrence, Magoffin, Menifee, Montgomery, Morgan, Rowan & Wolfe)
- Note for Boyd County residents: The City of Ashland periodically offers a repair program for people within the city.
- Highlands Housing Corporation (Bell, Clinton, Cumberland, Laurel, McCreary, Pulaski, Rockcastle, Wayne & Whitley)
- HOMES, Inc. (Letcher & some surrounding counties)
- Housing Development Alliance (Breathitt, Knott, Leslie & Perry)
- St Vincent Mission (Floyd & surrounding counties)
- Note: USDA offers 1% loans for home repair if you are not successful with these opportunities.
For general information and DIY ways to make your home more energy efficient, we recommend checking out this list of comprehensive resources we have compiled.
If you’re interested in finding out what your county’s “energy burden” is, or how you can contact your local officials about energy bills, check out this resource.
If you’re ready to look into solar, we strongly suggest getting multiple bids from local, professional installers for any solar electric system for your home. A professional installer should first help determine if there are ways to make your home more efficient before quoting you a solar system. The cost of energy efficiency improvements (i.e. lighting upgrades, Energy Star appliances, etc.) is often just 20 percent of the cost of solar electric needed to have the same impact. For example, air sealing, insulation, and HVAC upgrades may offer more immediate returns than a similar investment in solar electric modules. After looking at ways to reduce your electricity requirements a solar installer will perform a site assessment to determine how much solar access you have and the best location for mounting the solar modules.
Here’s a brief quote from one of our Certified Energy Managers, Josh Bills, about why getting multiple quotes and taking your time in the solar process is important:
As solar becomes more affordable, companies with sales reps that have little solar experience are popping up everywhere to get a piece of the pie. Their advertising campaigns are pushing too-good-to-be-true solar deals all over social media. Many out-of-state “solar lead” companies are using aggressive marketing with hooks like, “get paid to install solar on your home” or “want to eliminate your electric bill completely?” Once they sell you a system, they’ve done their job to generate the “lead.” Many then contract with the lowest bidding local electrician, who may also have little experience with solar, for your job. This is leading to systems being installed in the shade, overpriced systems lacking safety requirements or proper permitting, or without required approval for the interconnection. The good news is there are many reputable companies here in Kentucky, but you need to know what questions to ask.
More details on this issue and specifics on what look out for can be found here.
A list of local installers and consultants can be found at: www.kyses.org/installers
A list of incentives can be found at: www.dsireusa.org (incentives include a robust federal tax credit)
Contact Chris Woolery at email@example.com with any questions or other resources we have may have missed.