Northampton and 9 Other Communities Get In On the 2013 Solarize Massachusetts Program

Solarize MassachusettsSolarize Massachusetts, an innovative program for advancing the use of solar power in the state, was unveiled in spring of 2011.  This was done in support of an initiative set out by Governor Deval Patrick to install 250 megawatts (MW) of solar power in Massachusetts by the year 2017.  In both 2011 and 2012, the model was successful at every level; and now ten more communities can benefit from the program, including Northampton.

The former mayor of Westfield, and an appointee of the Governor, was in Northampton to announce that it is among the ten new areas which have been selected to benefit from the Solarize Massachusetts program.  Also included in the 2013 initiative are the following communities:  Bourne, Brookline, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Lee, Medford, Medway, Newton, and Williamstown.  The program will allow residents in these communities to install solar PV systems at a reduced cost and lower their electricity bills.  In addition, solar PV installers will be able to expand their businesses and hire more employees due to increased sales.

There are two key components upon which the Solarize MA model relies:

1 – A coordinated effort involving marketing, outreach, and education which targets homeowners and businesses for the purpose of generating increased interest in switching to solar power and providing the solar panel installers with customer leads.  Achieving this involves the deployment of teams consisting of volunteers, installers, and municipal leaders.

2 – A tiered pricing structure which provides increased savings on the price of installation of solar PV systems as more and more people in the community participate in the program.

Homeowners and business owners can sign up for solar power on their properties in three basic ways.  First, they can take advantage of the substantial savings and buy the solar panels themselves.  Secondly, they can enter into a lease agreement with an installer.  The period for payback on a $20,000 solar PV system is five to seven years when factoring in federal and state tax credits, according to officials.  A third option is that participants can enter into an agreement which allows solar panels to be installed for free and owned by the installer; this allows homeowners to cut their electricity bill by approximately 20 percent.

Solarize Massachusetts has been the catalyst for doubling the supply of solar energy in the state.  The program has so far overseen the installation of 750 solar PV systems.  The initiative has also helped create jobs; about 72,000 people in MA currently work in the installation, sale, and maintenance of solar arrays.

The 2012 program had a great response.  More than 5,400 individuals expressed that they were interested in pursuing a switch to solar power.  In the 17 communities involved in the 2012 Solarize Mass Program, a total of 748 homeowners and business owners entered into contracts to install solar electricity capacity of more than 4.8 megawatts.  Small-scale solar energy projects doubled in every community, as well. Solar Energy MA

Since the cost of enrollment goes down as more people sign on for the installation of solar PV systems, the next big step in the 2013 Solarize Mass Program is to spread the word from neighbor to neighbor in Northampton and the nine other communities selected to participate.

Contact Higgins Solar Energy Store in MA to get more details on a custom installed solar energy system and take part in this great initiative program.

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