Alternative Energy Southeast Chosen for Solarize Athens

Saturday, December 5, 9:00 AM
Colleen McLoughlin,, (o) 404-370-1764, (c) 908-675-3154
Alternative Energy Southeast chosen for Solarize Athens
On Friday, December 4, Alternative Energy Southeast (AES) was chosen as the contractor for Solarize Athens. Solarize Athens aids residents and businesses in going solar at a reduced cost; by buying from the same installer in the same time period, participants see savings of up to 30 percent.
“I’m absolutely thrilled for my company to be selected as the Solarize Athens installer,” said Montana Busch, founder and president of AES. “I lived there for five years and it’s still one of my favorite places to visit. The members of my crew who live in Athens currently are equally enthused.”
AES was established in 2007, though most of their projects have been contracted since 2013. In the past two years, AES has installed 220kW of solar, 183kW of which have been residential installations. AES employs seven people in the Metropolitan Athens Area.
AES will contract with Turnsol Energy to complete 25 percent of the installations that come out of the Solarize Athens project, which is expected to result in over 100 contracts within the Metropolitan Athens Area. Turnsol Energy, based in Watkinsville, has been installing solar Athens-Clarke County and Oconee County for 10 years, with 16 workers in the Metropolitan Athens Area. They have completed over 300 residential and over 100 commercial installations since being in business.
“AES has outstanding customer service, which is key in a solarize program,” said Colleen McLoughlin, solar campaign organizer with Environment Georgia and one of the coalition partners that launched Solarize Athens. “AES also offered the most competitive pricing and a commitment to donate 1.5 percent of gross sales from Solarize Athens to a community project.
The Installer Selection Committee for Solarize Athens consisted of nine individuals, a mixture of coalition partners – Environment Georgia, Georgia Interfaith Power & Light, Georgia Climate Change Coalition, and Solar CrowdSource – and community members who expressed interest in reviewing the proposals and attending the interviews on December 2.
Roger Moore, UGA faculty emeritus and resident of Athens since 1978, served on the Committee. “The whole purpose of a solarize program is community involvement,” said Moore. “It’s helpful that AES and Turnsol Energy have strong community ties to Athens.”
Solarize Athens allows residents and businesses in the Metropolitan Athens Area to enroll by March 31, 2016 in order to qualify for the discounted rate. Depending on the number of contracts signed, residents can get solar at a rate of $2.90/watt, and businesses can get solar at as low as $1.96/watt.
“This unique program is a win-win for everyone,” said Busch. “It’s a great opportunity to get a high quality solar PV system at a discounted price, and some of the proceeds will go to the community to help in other ways as well.”
The equipment AES has chosen to use for the Solarize Athens project includes SolarEdge DC optimizers, Canadian Solar modules, and Iron Ridge roof racking. The SolarEdge optimizer allows monitoring of each panel, which the owner can access from a mobile device. The equipment is also compatible with the Tesla Powerwall for those who wish to invest in battery storage.
Mayor Nancy Denson expressed her support for the program. “I am very pleased that Solarize Athens is working in our community and urge our citizens to support their efforts,” said Denson. “As a society I want us to be cognizant that responsible use of the gifts God has given us is the best legacy we can leave to future generations.”
Enrollment for Solarize Athens (the first step to getting a free site visit) officially begins on December 18. Citizens may enroll at Questions can be sent to
Solarize Athens was launched by Environment Georgia, Georgia Interfaith Power & Light,
Georgia Climate Change Coalition, and Solar CrowdSource.