Solarize Massachusetts

Wed 8 May 2013 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

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,BrooklineCarlisleChelmsfordLeeMedfordMedwayNewtonNorthampton, 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 [email protected]. Send that email!



Wind me up

Thu 3 Feb 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

It’s been a while since I looked at where our electricity company gets its power. The last one I can find is October 2009. I’d stacked up this year’s reports so here is far too much info on the New England GreenStart program’s power source. Looks like we are up to 13.2% power from solar and wind. Which means it has tripled since 2008: not bad. Bummer for me though: they just sent me a note saying the unit cost price for the “green” electricity is tripling (! . . . I think because they can) by about $20 a month. Hmm.

Not sure they can keep increasing the solar and wind power quite as fast—so bring on the the Cape Cod Wind Farm, and as many more as they can build asap.

Our office in Easthampton is 40 miles south of Vermont’s leaky old nuclear power plant, Vermont Yankee (seen here being gently buzzed by Greenpeace’s thermal airship) and here in Boston we’re 40 miles south another nuclear plant in New Hampshire. Eek! Build me a windfarm and coat my building in solar panels now!

Update: As far as I can see it’s pretty much always 75% “small hydro” (is that “greener” than “big hydro”? Is there less damage from dams?) and then a mix of mostly wind, then solar, and digester gas.

Update: Vermont Yankee is closing, yay!

Fall 2017

  • 71% old hydro
  • 6% new hydro
  • 3% biomass
  • 6% solar
  • 14% wind

Summer 2017

  • 74.9% hydro
  • 3.4% landfill gas
  • 5.4% biomass
  • 4.2% solar
  • 12% wind

Spring 2017

  • 75% hydro
  • 7% digester gas
  • 5% solar
  • 13% wind

Winter 2017 — hydro back to 75%

  • 75% hydro
  • 7% digester gas
  • 6% solar
  • 12% wind

Fall 2016 — first time hydro has dropped 1%

  • 74% hydro
  • 8% biomass
  • 4% solar
  • 14% wind

Summer 2016

  • 75% hydro
  • 8% biomass
  • 2% solar
  • 15% wind

Spring 2016

  • 75% hydro
  • 6% biomass
  • 3% solar
  • 16% wind

Winter 2016

  • 75% hydro
  • 5% biomass
  • 4% solar
  • 16% wind

Autumn 2015

  • 75% “small hydro”
  • 4% gas digester
  • 5% solar
  • 16% wind

Summer 2015

  • 75% “small hydro”
  • 1% digester gas
  • 5% solar
  • 19% wind

Spring 2015:

  • 75% “small hydro”
  • 2% digester gas
  • 7% solar
  • 16% wind

Autumn 2014:

  • 75% “small hydro”
  • 3% digester gas
  • 6% solar
  • 16% wind

Summer 2014 was nearly the same as the previous 2 quarters:

  • 75% “small hydro”
  • 3% digester gas
  • 5% solar
  • 17% wind

It is depressing to look at our supplier, National Grid’s “standard mix” of power. Lot of change to come here:

  • 36% “natural” gas
  • 28% nuclear
  • 15% imported
  • 6% oil
  • 5% coal
  • 5% municipal trash
  • 3% wind
  • 1% biomass
  • 1% hydro

Spring 2014 was exactly the same as:
Winter 2014 (back to “disgester gas”—how is your digestion?)

  • 75% “small hydro”
  • 4% digester gas
  • 6% solar
  • 15% wind

Autumn 2013 (same as spring except with a new title for hydro. But, really, is hydro low impact? Relatively. Maybe.)

  • 75% hydroelectric (now retitled small hydro. hmm)
  • 3% biogas
  • 6% solar
  • 16% wind

Summer 2013 (same as spring except with a new title for hydro. But, really, is hydro low impact? Relatively, maybe.)

  • 74.9% hydroelectric (now retitled low impact hydro. hmm)
  • 14.5% Digester Gas (cow power)
  • 4.1% solar
  • 6.4% wind

Spring 2013

  • 74.9% hydroelectric
  • 14.5% Digester Gas (cow power) [that’s really what it says!]
  • 4.1% solar
  • 6.4% wind

Winter 2013

  • 74.9% hydroelectric
  • 14.5% biomass (“wood, other plant matter, or landfill gas”)
  • 4.1% solar
  • 6.4% wind

Falll 2012

  • 74.9% hydroelectric
  • 16.2% landfill gas
  • 3.3% solar
  • 5.6% wind

Spring 2011

  • 74.9% hydroelectric
  • 9.9% biomass
  • 6.9% solar
  • 8.2% wind

Winter 2010

  • 74.9% hydroelectric
  • 11.8% biomass
  • 7.2% solar
  • 6.0% wind

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