Solar Energy, it’s one of the many forms of green energy that have been gaining steam as global warming and the debate over fossil fuels wreak havoc on the airwaves of America and the world.
As a state, Massachusetts has created a program designed to help reduce the cost of new solar energy installations by letting residents from specific towns group together and bid the total project out to one installer.
The program was piloted last summer by four communities and this year the Clean Energy commission has opened up the Solarize Mass program to 13 additional towns across the state.
Hopkinton was selected as one of the towns and now members of the Hopkinton Sustainable Green Committee (HopGreen) are trying to spread the word to residents all across town about the potential to save money on monthly electricty bills.
The program works like this: if one person signs up to get solar installed they get a deal by going through the program. After that, there are four different tiers based on participation level with the highest level coming once 50 participants have signed up to have 5 kW of solar panels installed on their roof.
Last week HopGreen and the CEC hosted a presentation called Solar 101 where more than 50 residents gathered in the Senior Center to discuss the benefits of solar and learn about the finer details of the program.
Community members in attendance talked about their experiences with solar, which can have an upfront installation cost of more than $20,000, but a return over time bringing them to a break-even point ten years down the road.
When electricity is used inside a house, it needs to come from somewhere, normally that somewhere is the power plant. By having solar panels installed in the roof of your home and barn you aren’t drawing the power from the plant and therefore you aren’t running up a bill. Furthermore when your panels are producing more power than you are using it can run in to the grid and turn your meter backward earning you energy credits which will be applied to your monthly electric bill.
The higher the level of participation the lower the cost to the individuals will be so HopGreen is encouraging residents to sign up today (all sign-ups need to be completed by the end of the month) and to tell other members about the program.
For more information email Andy Boyce, Hopkinton’s “Solar Coach”, at solarizeHopkinton@gmail.com or by phone at 508 293 1837. You can also visit the HopGreen website where information from the presentation is provided along with many useful links.