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2022 Ballston Singing Tree event (courtesy of Ballston BID)

The Ballston “singing tree” is set to return for the holiday season.

Starting next week, the sparkling, voice-activated Christmas tree near the Ballston Metro station will brighten the neighborhood with lights and music through the new year.

The tree — in the center of Welburn Square at 901 N. Taylor Street — will be adorned with 1,200 “interactive, sound responsive” lights designed by Canadian developer Limbic Media.

“Microphones capture audio input from the environment around the system, which interprets that data into colors and patterns to display throughout the tree,” per a press release.

The Ballston Business Improvement District, which introduced the tree last year, will mark its return with an event next Wednesday, Dec. 6, from 5-7 p.m. The event will include performances by the Arlington Children’s Chorus as well as food and drink.

Attendees can enjoy food from Rustico and DMV Empanadas, Turkish coffee from the Ballstonian cart, a free hot chocolate bar for kids, and a “Jingle Bar” for adults 21 and older.

“This event was such a joyous success last year, we knew we had to bring it back for the Ballston community,” Ballston BID CEO Tina Leone said in a statement. “We love supporting our local businesses as well as the Arlington Children’s Chorus and we hope other community members will come down to Ballston, shop for the holidays, enjoy some of our fabulous restaurants and see if they can activate the tree themselves!”

A vibrant yellow stand selling Christmas trees (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Trucks brimming with Christmas trees have started arriving in Arlington, signaling it is time to pull out those holiday ornaments.

Several Christmas tree markets across Arlington are set to open this Friday, after Thanksgiving. However, holiday shoppers are being cautioned not to wait too long due to a reported shortage of trees this year.

Factors such as Canadian wildfires and drought continue to impact tree availability, posing challenges for local lots in securing their usual supply.

Due to these shortages, the Gazette Leader reported several traditional tree vendors in the area have had to limit the number of trees on sale this year, including the Optimist Club of Arlington.

ARLnow has compiled a list of markets that are confirmed to be opening.

Optimist Club of Arlington

Starts: Friday, Nov. 24 at noon
Knights of Columbus (5115 Little Falls Road)

In addition to garlands, wreaths and ornaments, the local nonprofit plans to sell 2,100 Christmas trees, including tabletop Fraser fir and white pines from Galax, Virginia.

The lot is open seven days a week, although times vary depending on the day.

The profits go towards Arlington youth sports and academic activities.

Boy Scout Troop 162

Starts: Friday, Nov. 24 at 9 a.m.
Dominion Hills Pool parking lot (6000 Wilson Blvd)

Boy Scout Troop 162 in Arlington will sell trees along with wreaths and garlands. The troop has been conducting this sale since the early 1970s.

Scout Troop 167

Starts: Friday, Nov. 24 at noon
Mount Olivet United Methodist Church (1500 N. Glebe Road)

Once again, Scout Troop 167 is hosting its annual tree sale near Ballston from Nov. 24-27. The sale begins at noon on Friday and Sunday and 10 a.m. on Saturday. The lot is open until 8 p.m. each day. In case of bad weather, a backup weekend is scheduled for Dec. 1-3.

Trees and wreaths can be pre-ordered and picked up on-site either Friday or Saturday. There is also a delivery option for a $20 fee.

Clarendon United Methodist Church

Starts: Saturday, Nov. 25 at 9 a.m.
Clarendon United Methodist Church (606 N. Irving Street)

Clarendon United Methodist Church has 300 Fraser Fir trees from Canada. The sale, an annual event since 2007, is set for Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 25-26) and the first weekend in December (Dec. 2-3). All proceeds go to Arlington Thrive.

Knights of Columbus 

Starts: Saturday, Nov. 25 at 9 a.m.
Our Lady of Lourdes (830 23rd Street S.)

The Knights of Columbus tree lot at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Aurora Highlands  will be open Tuesday and Friday evenings and weekends until Dec. 18, or until trees sell out. The profits will support charitable activities, including the Coats for Kids drive.

National Landing Christmas Tree lot

Starts: Friday, Dec. 1 at 5:30 p.m.
Metropolitan Park (1321 S. Elm Street)

The National Landing Business Improvement District plans to sell Christmas trees supplied by Almost Heavenly Trees during its ski-themed holiday festival from Dec. 1-3 at Metropolitan Park, next to Amazon’s HQ2.

St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church 

Starts: Saturday, Dec. 2 at 9 a.m.
Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church (4000 Lorcom Lane)

St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church near Cherrydale is set to sell 200 trees from Vermont. The sale will run through the weekend and continue every Saturday and Sunday until sold out. According to the sale’s webpage, 85% of trees were sold on the first weekend last year.

Aware of any other local Christmas tree sales? Let us know in the comments.

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Trees in Glencarlyn (Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick)

Arlington County is seeking $1.9 million in federal funding to plant trees on school grounds and in neighborhoods with less tree canopy.

The funding will help maintain 4,400 trees, plant 400 additional trees and treat 138 acres of invasive species, a county report said. If the county receives the funding, tree planting could begin as soon as next summer.

On Saturday, the Arlington County Board retroactively approved an application county staff filed with the federal government last month. The funding would come from the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act, via a grant program supporting local efforts to address tree canopy and green space shortages in underserved communities and mitigate the effects of climate change.

With the grant, the county says it is “seeking to improve the livability of neighborhoods with historic and current tree equity deficits.”

While Arlington has an overall tree canopy level of 41%, it varies significantly by neighborhood, according to a 2017 county report. More urban and historically disadvantaged neighborhoods tend to have lower canopy levels, some below 20%, while wealthier, less dense neighborhoods had levels exceeding 70%.

A 2023 citizen-funded study suggests these canopy levels could be even lower.

Tree canopy cover by civic association in Arlington in 2017 (via Arlington County)

Last year, the local nonprofit EcoAction Arlington embarked on a multi-year effort to tackle these inequities. The county says the federal funding would boost this effort while also halving the current 16-year turnaround time for pruning and maintaining its 19,500 street trees.

“This turnaround time is too long to proactively reduce risk from tree or branch failure, which often affects lower income residents more,” the county report said.

“Plant healthcare will prevent or delay tree decline, particularly of trees at risk from invasive species and the impact of climate change,” it continued. “It will help save mature trees, which have significant embodied carbon and provide the greatest ecosystem service to our community.”

Plantings will target neighborhoods with an “equity score” below 100, according to the forest conservation group American Forests. The nonprofit has a map showing Arlington’s varying tree canopy levels and how that maps onto other indicators, such as socioeconomic diversity.

The county will also focus planting efforts on school properties, which have low tree canopy levels owing to black tops and large buildings. It says Arlington schools have an average tree canopy level of 23%, while green space makes up less than 25% of land.

Tree canopy gaps in Arlington (via American Forests)

In a new twist, the now-razed Broyhill estate in the Donaldson Run neighborhood is again on the market, billed as a development opportunity for anywhere between six and 36 homes.

Less than a year after its last sale, for $2.55 million, the estate near the Washington Golf and Country Club is once more on the market — this time as a 1.43-acre vacant lot, coming in at a cool $10 million asking price.

The agent, Leesburg-based Serafin Real Estate, says in a listing it “is pleased to present what is perhaps the single largest land offering to come available in Northern Virginia’s most desirable North Arlington (22207) within the last two decades.”

A brochure notes this property is ready for “streamline development” with up to six single-family residences — the way of the Febrey-Lothrop estate — or up to 36 Expanded Housing Option housing units, across two parcels, 11,145 square feet and 51,062 square feet in size.

Neither the agent nor the owners responded to a request for comment.

A video tour of the property at 2561 N. Vermont Street shows that construction fencing remains, as do some remnants of the former 10-bedroom home: brick steps, a wrought iron gate, and a small building corner.

It’s a far cry from the home husband-and-wife duo Mustaq Hamza and Amanda Maldonado told ARLnow they would build after buying the property earlier this year.

Shortly into demolition, they were fending off at least one vigilante preservationist who nicked pieces of the home on his way out. They also had had sharp words for neighbors they said alleged the duo would take advantage of the freshly-passed Missing Middle zoning code updates.

“They don’t believe two minorities can buy a lot for $2.5 million and build another single family house,” Maldonado said at the time. “They believe we’re going to flip it and build a bunch of condos.”

Donaldson Run Civic Association President Bill Richardson says a lingering concern for neighbors is how much of the property will be covered with an impervious surface, with elements such as a house or a driveway.

“Members are very concerned about that, generally, and as it relates to this property,” he said. “It applies whether it’s [developed with] single-family or Missing Middle… Nobody really knows. it’s being marketed for either purpose.”

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Trees in Arlington (staff photo)

EcoAction Arlington just got a $60,000 boost from the Arlington branch of the NAACP and the Mormon church in its efforts to plant trees in disadvantaged neighborhoods.

Last year, the environmental advocacy group announced its plan to plant trees in 10 neighborhoods where the canopy is thinner than elsewhere — areas generally less wealthy and more diverse than Arlington’s leafier enclaves. The 2022 announcement coincided with a $50,000 donation from Amazon.

The initiative, dubbed the Tree Canopy Equity program, aims to raise $1.5 million to fund planting 250 trees twice a year, for the next five years — or 2,500 trees total. Last week, the NAACP announced it had selected EcoAction Arlington to receive the money through a strategic grant and partnership with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“Arlington has a 10-year life expectancy difference amongst its neighborhoods, and this donation will create focus and provide much-needed tree canopy in places that have, for decades, been left out of the conversation,” NAACP Branch President Michael Hemminger said in a statement. “For years, EcoAction Arlington has been a committed partner in the furtherance of our mission, making them a natural fit for why we selected this non-profit as the recipient.”

To date, EcoAction Arlington has raised $239,000 from individuals, corporations, nonprofits, foundations and the state of Virginia, executive director Elenor Hodges tells ARLnow.

“That’s got to be a record for us in most money raised in shortest amount of time,” she said. “We’re truly grateful to the NAACP and looking to them as a true partner.”

The money funds outreach needed to find residents, apartment buildings and organizations interested in planting trees. It also pays for shrubs — trees are paid for through the Arlington County Tree Canopy Fund — and, in some cases, water.

Hodges says she is excited to use support from a foundation to pay community members to do the outreach work, similar to a model used in Wards 7 and 8 in D.C.

“This community work takes people, time and money, so we want to pay people and professionalize it,” she said.

This spring, volunteers planted 215 trees and 110 shrubs across the 10 neighborhoods, particularly in Penrose, Green Valley and Aurora Highlands, she said. Shrubs provide the benefits of trees and are ideal for people without the space for a tree or who are not ready to add one to their yard.

The 10 neighborhoods being targeted have a lower average tree canopy than Arlington County as a whole, according to one study funded by some members of local environmental advocacy groups, including EcoAction Arlington.

Based on imaging from 2021, a consultant found that trees cover 33% of land — excluding the Pentagon and Reagan National Airport — down from 41% on the same land six years ago. The 10 neighborhoods, meanwhile, have a canopy coverage average of 22.6%.

The neighborhoods and their canopy levels are as follows:

  • Arlington View, 17%
  • Aurora Highlands, 22%
  • Buckingham, 21%
  • Columbia Heights, 28%
  • Glebewood, 29%
  • Green Valley, 24%
  • John M. Langston Citizens Association, 19%
  • Long Branch Creek, 24%
  • Penrose, 23%
  • Radnor/Fort Myer Heights, 19%
Tree canopy in Arlington by neighborhood (via Arlington Tree Action Group)

The absence of trees makes a neighborhood hotter and Arlington’s hottest places are along the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor and near Reagan National Airport, per a study by Marymount University.

Study authors say this is because concrete and asphalt absorb heat and radiate it back into the environment while neighborhoods in North Arlington have more trees and gardens to soak up that sunshine.

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(Updated at 4:35 p.m.) Tree canopy in Arlington County is lower than it was in 2016, according to a new privately-funded study paid for local residents.

The residents, who are involved in Arlington County Civic Federation, Arlington Tree Action Group and EcoAction Arlington, funded the study to how much tree canopy declined since the last county study in 2017.

Based on imaging from 2021, a consultant found that trees cover 33% of land — excluding the Pentagon and Reagan National Airport — down from 41% on the same land six years ago. Coverage ranges by civic association, from 14% in Crystal City to 66% in the county’s northernmost neighborhood of Arlingwood, compared to 26% and 75%, respectively, in 2011.

“It’s really eye-opening,” one of the residents behind the study, Mary Glass, tells ARLnow. “Ideally, the county would have had this, but they didn’t.”

The tree lovers commissioned the study out of frustration with the county for not doing so before beginning work on a Forestry Natural Resource Plan (FNRP).

This updates a 2004 Urban Forest Master Plan and a 2010 Natural Resources Management Plan in one document to address climate change, population growth and threats such as diseases and invasive species, says Dept. of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Jerry Solomon. It has an eye toward racial equity and environmental justice, to make sure all residents benefit physically and mentally from Arlington’s natural resources.

Combining the plans “allows us to consider Arlington’s ecosystem holistically and craft a more comprehensive set of recommendations for conservation and resource management in the future,” Solomon said.

During this process, and during the Missing Middle housing discussions that concluded with zoning updates earlier this month, preserving trees from redevelopment was mentioned as a top priority for many residents. (The zoning changes approved by the County Board specifies requirements for shade trees on properties redeveloped with Missing Middle housing.)

To help, volunteers from Marymount University and EcoAction Arlington have been planting trees in the hotter, less leafy parts of Arlington.

Marymount University volunteers plant trees in Arlington (courtesy Gaston Araoz)

Now, Glass says, she hopes people will use the new data when the next Forestry Natural Resource Plan draft is published and ready for community input.

“This information is going to be right there so when the next draft comes out, in the next month or so, we’ll be able to make specific comments and recommendations based on the information we have,” Glass said.

The draft could be ready for community feedback this spring or early summer, Solomon said. The parks department spokesperson added that staff have seen the new study and “are excited about the community’s enthusiasm for our urban forests.”

However, she added, “we have not seen the underlying data and don’t have a full understanding of the methodology. As a result, we cannot speak to any discrepancies without adequately assessing it for accuracy, margin of error, or underlying assumptions.”

The department said it felt comfortable starting the plan update based on the overall downward trends in the previous tree canopy studies. Solomon said the current draft acknowledges and has recommendations for reversing the decline in tree canopy.

Despite marginal fluctuations, from a high of 43% in 2008 to a low of 40% in 2011 and a slight uptick to 41% in 2017, the county says tree coverage in parks is offsetting declining tree coverage on residential properties.

“Knowing this, we decided to prioritize the update of the FNRP in order to identify strategies to reverse that trend and address other environmental challenges sooner rather than later,” she said. Read More


Four privately owned trees of “outstanding size” in Arlington could be protected from future removal or injury.

The owners, who live in the Williamsburg, Cherrydale and Glencarlyn neighborhoods, nominated these trees to be recognized as “specimens” worthy of protection, the county says in a report.

The trees meet criteria for this designation “by virtue of their outstanding size and quality for their particular species,” the report says. The Arlington County Board is set to grant this protection at its meeting this coming Saturday.

Over two decades ago, the Board approved a tree preservation ordinance that provides a four designations — “Heritage, Memorial, Specimen and Street Trees” — through which trees on public or private property can be protected from removal or injury. Some 17 trees are highlighted on the county’s website for their size, condition and heritage.

There are approximately 755,000 trees in Arlington, according to a draft of an update to the county Forestry and Natural Resources plan. The county controls about 120,000 trees, including those in parks and about 19,500 street trees. The remainder grow on private property or on public institutions that are not directly managed by Arlington County.

Protecting private trees is one strategy the county has for maintaining its canopy. For about as long as this ordinance has been in place, and despite redevelopment on private property, tree canopy has covered about 41% of land area in Arlington.

“This level of canopy has remained constant for the past 20 years, largely because significant losses on private property were offset by tree planting and preservation on parks and other public lands,” the plan says.

Arlington will have to rely more on designating and preserving trees, like the four going before the County Board this weekend, going forward, per the plan.

“With little ‘plantable space’ remaining on existing county-owned land, opportunities to offset future losses will be limited by the need to conserve natural areas,” it says.

Trees play an important role in reducing carbon, energy use and runoff.

Tree branches, roots and trunks remove and store about 9,360 tons a year of carbon in Arlington, but that represents “only a fraction of the County’s greenhouse gas emissions,” the plan says.

Tree canopy provides shade, reducing energy use in buildings and transportation and preventing the radiation of heat back into the environment. A recent study found leafier — and often wealthier — Arlington neighborhoods are cooler than its Metro corridors and lower-income areas, a disparity a local nonprofit is working to address.

Tree roots hold soil in place, reducing runoff during rain storms. Since a deluge in 2019 caused extreme flooding, there has been increasing focus on county stormwater infrastructure, as well as concern that trees are lost due to the redevelopment of older homes into larger homes that cover more of a given lot.

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Christmas tree set for curbside collection (via Arlington County)

If you bought a Christmas tree this year, don’t throw out it out just yet (unless it’s dangerously dry).

Starting Monday, Arlington County will begin its annual curbside Christmas tree collection. Tree pick-up for Arlington residential waste collection customers — primarily those in single-family homes — will go through Friday, Jan. 13.

“Place trees at [the] curb no later than 6 a.m. on your regular trash collection day after removing all decorations, nails [and] stands,” per the county website. “Do not place trees in plastic bags.”

After Jan. 13, county waste removal services will handle Christmas trees as part of Arlington’s year-round yard-waste collection.

“Make sure the tree is bare and ready for composting,” the announcement said. “Trees over 8 feet long will need to be dismantled.”

Residents of apartments, condos and townhomes can drop trees off at the county’s Earth Products Yard in Shirlington. Those who plan to go to the yard will need proof of residence in Arlington to drop off their trees.

Trees will ultimately be converted into mulch. Residents may pick up the mulch for free, or have it delivered for a fee, from county facilities in Shirlington and Yorktown.

Greenery aside, Arlington also has a guide for reducing trash during the holidays, including what can and cannot be recycled. Some things that don’t qualify for county recycling — including broken twinkle lights, electronics and batteries — can be dropped off at MOM’s Organic Market on N. Veitch Street.

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The Planning Commission on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022 (via Arlington County)

A proposal to allow by-right development of “Missing Middle” housing in single-family-home neighborhoods will now head to the Arlington County Board for a first look.

A little after midnight yesterday (Thursday), the Planning Commission voted 7-2 to recommend the County Board advertise hearings on a series of proposed changes to the county’s zoning code, which would allow 2-8-unit buildings in Arlington’s lowest-density neighborhoods.

This is the next step in a years-long process to draft and potentially approve the fiercely debated plan. The County Board is expected to deliberate the request to advertise hearings as early as its meeting on Jan. 21, meaning the proposal could return to the Planning Commission and the County Board for a final vote in March.

Some who voted “nay” last night said they support this effort while others who voted “aye” indicated they may not be voting the same way in March.

“I strongly support what staff are doing and what the County Board is doing,” said Commissioner Leonardo Sarli, who voted against the advertising request. “We just need a little more time to understand what we’re signing up for and what the outcomes are going to be… I find that there’s quite a bit that’s still lacking and missing. There’s a lot left up to chance in the hope of good luck.”

Commissioner Sara Steinberger, who voted for the advertising request, said what happened last night does not necessarily reflect how she might vote in March. Commissioner Denyse “Nia” Bagley, who voted to advertise, said “I personally still am not sure that what we have in front of us now… that we’re there yet.”

Outgoing Chair Daniel Weir, who voted for the request, said he is “so thrilled to give the community the opportunity to continue this conversation.”

“I am mindful of the number of people who spoke to us on Monday, pleading with us to give them hope that they have a future in our community,” he said.

During the five-hour meeting, members of the planning body bounced around a number of recommended changes to the draft. One failed suggestion was a 4-unit cap on Missing Middle-type buildings, which the draft zoning text now calls Expanded Housing Option (EHO) dwellings.

“Notwithstanding the enormous housing crisis we face locally, regionally and nationally, I’m still uncomfortable going all the way up to six or eight units,” said Commissioner Elizabeth Gearin, who voted against the advertising request. “That’s such a dramatic change to a single-family neighborhood. Two seems very reasonable, but even our peer jurisdictions don’t know what that’s going to look like in the long term. Six to eight almost seems like a bridge too far.”

Many of these recommended changes that passed dovetailed from concerns raised by the public during Monday’s Planning Commission meeting. They are intended to promote homeowner-led development and prevent gentrification, locate 5-8-unit buildings closer to Metro, eliminate parking minimums and encourage more tree preservation.

“The many motions we’ve gone through as a group this evening are a reflection of what we heard from the community, in thinking in terms of the appropriate number of EHO dwellings could be, what we can do to protect tree canopy and other resource allocation concerns we heard from the community,” said Steinberger.

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Know of a majestic maple, terrific tulip or winsome willow tree deserving of recognition?

Don’t leaf it until the last minute to nominate a tree for Arlington County’s recognition program for notable trees. The deadline for the 2023 honors is this Halloween (Monday, Oct. 31), which is less than two weeks away.

“Since 1987, Arlington County has recognized its most notable trees,” Arlington’s Urban Forest Manager Vincent Verweij told the Arlington County Board this spring during his presentation on the 2022 winners. “This volunteer-led program has recognized over 365 trees.”

Owners are recognized with a certificate or plaque, and sometimes, the trees are included on neighborhood walking tours.

“While these trees are not legally protected, notable tree status has often helped communicate the value of these trees in development projects, and led to increased conservation of our most prized natural resource,” Verweij said.

Nominators can fill out a form that asks for the tree’s common and species name, the tree’s street address and location on the property. There is space to write a brief description of why the nominator believes the tree should be recognized and an option to upload photos.

“Nominators other than the tree’s owner should contact the owner for consent before submitting an application,” per the county. “Owners may request that their names and addresses not appear on the public listing.”

Volunteers or county staff will measure the tree and evaluate its health before making a recommendation to the Forestry and Natural Resources Commission. Considerations include a tree’s size, age, historical and community significance, and whether its species is unique and non-invasive.

For 2022, 18 submissions were reviewed and 12 nominations were approved, Verweij said.

Solar panels dot an Arlington home (photo courtesy of Arlington County Department of Environmental Services)

A county program has led to a large increase in solar panels being installed on homes over the last year.

The Arlington 2022 Solar and EV Charger Co-op is a seven-year-old partnership between the county and the non-profit Solar United Neighbors to purchase solar systems in bulk. The co-op, in turn, sells the systems to the customers at about a 20% discount, the program coordinator and a planner with the Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy (AIRE) Helen Reinecke-Wilt explained to ARLnow.

The annual deadline to become a member is today (Aug. 31).

While the co-op is open to residents in Arlington, the City of Falls Church, and other surrounding Virginia localities, Arlingtonians comprise the majority of the membership.

And, since 2021, that has led to a substantial increase in solar panel systems being installed on Arlington homes.

Last year, 90 solar systems were installed in the county through the co-op. Add 17 from other localities, that’s 107 in total. That nearly doubled previous years’ numbers, Reinecke-Wilt said.

Last year’s record-breaking number will likely be exceeded in 2022 as well, the data suggests.

Reinecke-Wilt believes the reason for the uptick is that locals are looking to become more environmentally friendly as the county continues to tout its plan to be carbon neutral by 2050.

I think it’s just a bigger awareness about climate action and the need to take action with more people thinking that they should be involved,” she said.

Locals are also recognizing the potential future savings due to being less dependent on the electrical grid. It’s estimated that households with solar panels save $600 to $1,100 a year on electrical costs, per the table on the co-op’s website.

While there are solar power systems being installed outside of the co-op, most installations in Arlington are through the co-op, we’re told. There are about 620 solar home systems in Arlington with 388 installed through the co-op, per data provided to ARLnow by the county’s Department of Environmental Services.

With nearly 120,000 residences in the county, that remains a small percentage. But the hope is that number will continue to increase due to the program’s growing popularity and the 30% tax credit now available thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act being signed earlier this month.

“The bump from 26% to 30% is [a big deal]. We are seeing a lot more members sign up in the past month and, certainly, I think it’s a reaction to that increase,” Reinecke-Wilt said.

There are reasons why most Arlington homes haven’t gone solar, including upfront costs — sometimes as much as $16,000 even with the tax credits. A roof’s lifespan is also a factor, with most vendors advising homeowners not to install solar panels on a roof older than seven years.

There’s also the still-vibrant (if slowly thinning) Arlington tree canopy, which shades many homes and can prevent sunshine from poking through to generate power. But that’s a good thing, Reinecke-Wilt said, since “it’s always better to have shade than solar because it provides natural cooling and helps the planet in other ways.”

Some residents also may not like the aesthetics of solar panels or hold the misguided belief that they bring down the value of the home.

But the sun seems to be rising on solar panels in Arlington.

At least by the metric of how many have signed up for the co-op, Arlington is outpacing nearly every other neighboring locality including those in D.C. and Maryland in terms of interest, Reinecke-Wilt said. She fully expects that more houses in Arlington will opt to go solar, prompted by the need to help with the climate crisis, federal incentives, and neighbor envy.

“I think it’s just getting to the point where people are starting to really notice it on a lot of homes and are asking their neighbors, ‘Why did you go solar? How did you do?'” said Reinecke-Wilt. “I think it will just continue to grow.”


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