New England Clean Energy was the solar installer for Acton and Shirley, two of 17 communities participating in the state program, which is designed to increase the adoption of solar energy by offering bulk-buying discounts within specific communities. Solarize Massachusetts is administered by the Mass Clean Energy Center and the Department of Energy Resources (DOER).
“This is a tremendous outcome for the towns of Acton and Shirley. On top of the customers who actually bought systems, hundreds more are now better informed about solar’s benefits. Still, had market conditions been more favorable, the numbers might have been even higher. The lease company we contracted with for our Solarize proposal backed out when SREC prices dropped. We were able to offer a Power Purchase Agreement alternative toward the end of the program, but the electricity savings weren’t appealing enough to sway consumers. In the end, every Solarize system was purchased, using savings or a bank loan,” Durrenberger said.
Forty-eight homeowners and one business purchased a total of 46 solar electric and four solar hot water systems. New England Clean Energy was the only Solarize Massachusetts installer to offer solar hot water systems in addition to solar electric.
“Solar hot water is ‘the other solar energy’ – just as beneficial as solar electric but not as well-known. In fact, the state is offering very generous rebates for residential and commercial solar hot water systems, and interest-free loans are available for smaller systems, so the economics have never been better. We were pleased to help raise awareness of this cost-saving technology through Solarize,” said Durrenberger.
The solar electric systems sold have a capacity of almost 260 kilowatts, and should generate approximately 260,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year. The clean solar energy will offset 130 metric tons of carbon dioxide. The solar electric owners will save a total of about $43,000 a year on their electric bills.
“Solarize provided the impetus for more than 400 families to consider solar and other energy efficient technologies. Even though many roofs didn’t work due to shade or azimuth, the number of solar PV systems in Acton will more than double thanks to this program,” said Acton Solar Coach Chris Schaffner.
“Solarize is one state government program that has a direct, immediate and visible benefit on our citizens. Even though many roofs didn’t work out due to shade or azimuth, several hundred people learned about solar energy through this program, and that’s a real win,” said Shirley Solar Coach Bryan Dumont.
“We are attracted to residential solar energy for multiple reasons. A residential solar energy installation allows an attractive financial return of approximately 6% annually on a secure investment. In addition, satisfaction comes from being involved in the community based distributed power generation movement, an increased awareness of home energy consumption, and supporting grass roots driven national energy and environmental policy,” said Acton customer Pat Hearn. [Note to Editor: Additional customer comments available upon request.]
New England Clean Energy is the only installer to participate in the Solarize Massachusetts program for two years, having served as installer for the town of Harvard, which was the most successful of the four pilot towns in 2011. The company has put more solar on Massachusetts homes than any other local company. New England Clean Energy designs, engineers and installs solar electric and solar hot water systems, as well as solar attic fans and solar parking lot lighting systems, for homes and businesses. The company has installed more than 200 solar systems throughout Central Massachusetts since being founded in 2006. MassSolarInfo.com recently awarded the company five honors, including Highest Customer Satisfaction among Massachusetts solar installers. The company is based in Hudson, Mass.