Environment

As part of a push to increase the number of rooftop solar panels in Louisville, a local advocacy group is holding a series of workshops this month to educate homeowners considering installing the technology.

The Louisville Sustainability Council officially launched Solar Over Louisville in March and set a goal of getting an additional two megawatts of solar capacity installed in the city by the end of the year. Program manager Paul Brooks said so far, the group is about 10 percent of the way toward its goal.

The campaign’s series of four public workshops begins this week. Brooks said they should help answer some common questions about installing solar capacity.

“How does it work? Do I get credits or how long does it last? Does it have any maintenance? All those issues are going to be on the minds of folks,” he said.

The cost of solar panels is dropping, and the number of local homeowners installing solar has grown exponentially over the past few years. In 2010, there were only 43 solar customers in the Louisville Gas & Electric service territory. By 2014, there were 159.

Brooks said between the declining costs of solar panels and tax credits, the payback for solar energy is improving.

“There may be better strictly financial investments,” he said. “But this is one that has the dual benefit of being somewhat altruistic along with having a tangible and realizable return on that investment.”

The workshops are purposely in different areas of Louisville — Middletown, downtown, Okolona and Crescent Hill. Brooks said if they’re successful, Solar Over Louisville would like to expand the program to other neighborhoods.

The meetings are June 9 at 6 p.m. at the Middletown Library; June 15 at 6 p.m. at the Main Library; June 22 at 6 p.m. at the Crescent Hill Library and June 30 at 6:30 p.m. at the Okolona Library.