Wilton homeowners who have been considering solar as an energy option for their homes will have an opportunity to learn about a town-wide program, with discount prices. In November, the Board of Selectmen approved a memorandum of understanding reflecting their support of Solarize Wilton, and on Jan. 12, the 18-week, state-run residential solar installation incentive program will officially begin. A commencement event is scheduled for that Tuesday, from 7-8:30 p.m., at Wilton Library, 137 Old Ridgefield Road. Residents can attend to learn about the program, meet the solar installer, hear about financing options, and get feedback on whether or not their houses are solar-friendly. Jan. 13 is the snow date, same time and location. The purpose of Solarize Wilton is to make the installation of solar systems more affordable for residents. To do this, the town, the Energy Commission, and Wilton Go Green selected one vendor to perform all solar installations in Wilton, in exchange for discount pricing. And in addition to the price cuts, Solarize Wilton affords 0%-down financing for qualified residents, and systems added through the program come with 25-year warranties. To get started, visit SolarizeCT.com\/Wilton. With the launch of Solarize Wilton days away, Wilton Energy Commission Co-Chair Debra Thompson-Van briefed the Board of Selectmen at its meeting on Jan. 4, giving town executives an update on program specifics. \u201cThe primary benefit to the town of running this program,\u201d said Thompson-Van, \u201cis to offer the residences a pre-negotiated, community-based pricing that is a discount off of the equipment and installation services they may not have had access to if they were buying it one residence at a time.\u201d Funded by the Connecticut Green Bank through a partnership with nonprofit SmartPower, Solarize Connecticut is a statewide energy program designed to encourage the adoption of residential solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, the incentive being that, for a single community, the more residents who sign up, the cheaper the installation of solar panels becomes for everyone. When a community enrolls in the program, the program takes the name of that community, \u00e0 la Solarize Wilton. In the past, Solarize Connecticut has achieved cash benefits for homes through a tiered pricing structure in which a single installer is specified for a particular community and rebates in that community are administered when participation in the program reaches certain milestones. However in this case, things will be done a little differently. It is the opinion of Wilton\u2019s Energy Commission that the way Solarize Connecticut has worked in the past can potentially place undue pressure on residents to employ certain vendors. \u201cWe were concerned tiered pricing does drive one neighbor to maybe put pressure on another neighbor. That\u2019s not the case anymore,\u201d Thompson-Van said. For the sake of mitigating that pressure, residents will not be required to go with the vendor recommended by the Energy Commission, though they will miss out on preferred pricing if they do choose not to. \u201cNo resident is under any circumstance required to use the solar vendor,\u201d Thompson-Van said. \u201cThis round of the program is different from every other round. The price that\u2019s being offered is offered regardless of whether one resident or 100 residents take advantage of this program.\u201d With Solarize Connecticut, the request-for-proposal-process is state-led. According to Thompson Van, the state forwarded nine vendor bids to a \u201cpreselection team\u201d composed of Wilton energy officials, who invited three of the nine to make presentation. Of those three, one installer\u2019s bid was awarded \u2014 that of Ross Solar Group, a Danbury-based solar energy equipment supplier that serves Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York. \u201cThose three vendors were all notable, and quite frankly, had any one of the three of them been the one we chose, we would have been in a very good position,\u201d Thompson-Van said. In order to take advantage of Solarize Wilton\u2019s reduced rates, residents must sign their contracts by May 18. But as Thompson-Van noted in her presentation, for residents to take advantage of certain state and federal rebates, the actual installation must be completed within 2016. Solarize Connecticut began in 2012, and 58 communities have participated since the program\u2019s inception. The Connecticut Green Bank is a quasi-public agency that leverages public and private funds to accelerate the growth of green energy in Connecticut. SmartPower is a national nonprofit marketing firm dedicated to promoting clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency.