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Hundreds of homeowners in southeast Portland have joined forces to make going solar not only easier but much cheaper.

The project is called "Solarize Portland." On Wednesday, after months of preparations the first solar panel went up atop Christophe and Lori Murphy's Mount Tabor home.

For years the Murphy's had wanted to install solar panels on their west facing roof, but they say they couldn't afford them.

"When we did the remodel we tried to do a lot of things that would be more green but at that time it was just hard," explained Lori. But what was once hard became simple when the Murphy's got involved in the "Solarize Portland" project.

Video: Portlanders go solar

They joined forces with their neighbors to buy the panels in bulk. By doing so they cut the cost of going solar nearly in half!

"So a system that would of cost $7000 at the end of the day, we're seeing prices more in the $2000 to $3000 out of pocket," said Lizzie Rubado of Energy Trust of Oregon which is leading the program.

Every year the organiziation offers tax incentives to about 150 solar homes in Oregon. This year with the Solarize Portland project, it will more than double that number. And homeowners can nearly double their savings. In addition to saving money on the panels, they'll also save money on their energy bills.

Energy Trust says, in some cases, homeowners can cut their bills by 30 to 40%.

This is the first year for the program. The deadline to sign up has passed. But Energy Trust of Oregon plans on doing another "Solarize Portland" project next year.

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