I was one of 100+ people at the first Northampton Solarize Massachusetts meeting last night. Woohoo!
Solarize Massachusetts is a state program that uses group buying to bring down the installment cost of solar power. I’ve long wanted to add solar power at home—at work at the Paragon Arts building I don’t choose the electricity provider. But the cost, the cost. We are signed up for Greenstart so we are paying slightly more than the average but are buying into solar, wind, etc.—although it is mostly hydroelectric. (Not as good as the rest, but better than fossil fuels.)
Anyway. The first round of towns in the 2013 Solarize Massachusetts program are Bourne,Brookline, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Lee, Medford, Medway, Newton, Northampton, and Williamstown. The program selects one solar power installer who does site checks and so on to see if the interested people (me!) can actually have panels installed. The installer offers the town a deal: the more people who buy in by the end of the program (September 30, 2013), the lower the price. The average savings in previous rounds of the program have been 20%. Not bad!
There are also Federal tax credits worth about 25% of the cost, a $1,000 Massachusetts income tax credit, “solar renewable energy credit” (SRECs), net metering (you get a credit if your solar panels generate more power than you need), and the possibility of a few other credits. Overall, if the town gets enough people into the program—and there were 100+ people there last night—the panels usually pay for themselves within 5-7 years.
Any Northamptonites interested in the program should email Susan Lantz at firstname.lastname@example.org. Send that email!