Solarize Mass Natick reached 100 contracts, and Wicked Local Natick has the story on how a nonprofit can receive a free solar array as a result! See the story here.
Read Leo Ryan's op-ed in the Metrowest Daily News on solar and the power of the neighborhood effect. Here is the short version: experience and research show that going solar is contagious.
Walking out my front door I can see shiny black solar panels mounted on six of my neighbors’ roofs. This seems like a lot of solar systems in one small neighborhood near Natick’s town center.
My casual analysis suggests that the residential solar system concentration in my neighborhood is much higher than most other neighborhoods in town. So what gives?
Experts have actually studied this phenomenon and it turns out that “Keeping up with the Joneses” is driving solar system installations nationwide, just as it seems to in Natick.
In 2014, an article in the Journal of Economic Geography examined the growth of rooftop solar power across Connecticut. The study noted that rooftop solar took hold in a few spots in 2005 and then spread out in a wave-like centrifugal pattern. The researchers considered several possible explanations for this pattern, such as population density or income. But in the end, they concluded that the evidence pointed in one direction: neighbor effects. Specifically, adding one rooftop system on a block increased the average number of installations in the immediate neighborhoods.
Solar power currently generates about only 0.4 percent of America's electricity, but it's expanding at a rapid rate, with a new rooftop system installed every four minutes, on average. There are a lot of reasons to explain this growth: many households save money immediately; property values go up; the industry is more mature; the hardware has proven to be reliable and virtually maintenance free; financing now allows you to go solar with no money down; escalating/fluctuating utility prices; concerns about electrical system reliability; and the opportunity to play a role in mitigating climate change.
Not every house is a good fit for solar: you need about enough roof space to park three Toyota Camrys or two Ford Explorers; the best roof faces south (although east and west facing roofs can work); and the structure should be sound with a roof in good condition. In Natick, we have nearly 400 homes that already have solar systems installed. Some solar companies estimate that there are another 1,000 homes in Natick that would be a good fit. Solarize Mass Natick is designed to make exploring your solar options easier and I encourage you to visit our website at www.solarizemassnatick.com
So, are you the Joneses or is it time for you to catch up with them?
If you couldn't make the MEET THE SOLAR INSTALLER events on May 19th or June 16th, you can now catch up online. Thanks to Natick Pegasus, a video of the May 19th MEET THE SOLAR INSTALLER event is now available on demand at this link. You can hear volunteers from Solarize Mass Natick at the start, presenters from Mass Clean Energy Center on the state programs and incentives (9 minutes), Boston Solar on the specific packages and pricing being offered to homeowners through Solarize Mass Natick (28 minutes), and questions and answers (48 minutes). Thanks to all the volunteers and participants who have made both of these events a great success!
Interested in learning more about solar for your home? Like to help our local non-profits? How about doing both things at once? Solarize Mass Natick has an exciting nonprofit referral program.
If you use one of our nonprofit partners’ referral codes when you request a home visit, Boston Solar will donate $100 to the nonprofit after they meet with you and another $250 if you complete a solar install with them.
This program is made possible by the partnership between Solarize Mass Natick and Boston Solar. Our volunteer campaign helps lower their costs for acquiring customers, which translates into lower installation prices for you, and incentives like the nonprofit referral program.
Most exciting, if we sign up 100 projects through Solarize Mass Natick, Boston Solar has agreed to donate a $25,000 solar array to a Natick nonprofit or municipal building. If you’ve got ideas for where that solar array might go, let us know!
Here are the nonprofit partners and their referral codes. Visit this site to use a referral code and request an appointment with Boston Solar.
Bacon Free Library (BACON)
Golden Tones (GOLDEN)
Memorial School PTO (MSPTO)
Kennedy School PTO (KMSPTO)
Kids Connect (KIDS)
Natick Education Foundation (NEF)
Natick Service Council (NSC)
Natick Community Organic Farm (FARM)
Sound and Spirit (SPIRIT)
If your Natick nonprofit would like to partner with us for this project, please use this link.
Solarize Mass Natick took a big step forward last week! When we started, we were at Tier 1 pricing. In four weeks, we’ve reached Tier 4 pricing! What does that mean? It means that prices through Solarize Mass Natick are now 11% lower than when we started and we on track to reach Tier 5 pricing — which is the lowest pricing for the program! You can see the schedule of pricing here. No matter when you sign on for Solarize Natick, you’ll get the program’s final pricing.
This makes solar a really exciting option for Natick residents. The last proposal we saw was for a system that covered all of the homeowner’s annual electricity needs and is projected to pay for itself in less than 4 years. Although the upfront cost before federal and state incentives was close to $20,000, the state’s low-cost solar loan program means the homeowner will lower their utility expenses right from the start — in fact, they were projected to save close to $1500 the first year and $17,000 over the first ten years.
And, once they are paid for, those solar panels will keep on generating clean electricity for years to come! But remember, this program is on a deadline — August 1 is the last day to request a site visit and October 1 is the last day to sign a contract! You can call our designated installer, Boston Solar, directly at 617-858-1645 or follow this link.
What does an electric bill look like after you go solar? It looks different, because you’ll have a shiny new electric meter — a “net meter”.
Unlike your current electric meter, which only measures how much electricity you consume, a net meter tracks how much electricity you produce and how much you use. At the end of the month, the bill is calculated based on the net consumption. If you use more electricity than your panels generate, you pay the difference. If you generate more electricity than you use, Eversource credits you the difference (and that credit carries over month to month).
What does this look like in practice? Have a look at my September electricity bill. What it shows is that in the first full month we had solar, we generated 2237 kWh more than we used. As a result, Eversource credited us $404.16 for the month. That credit is the amount of excess production multiplied by the retail rate of electricity (minus a small fraction). Keep in mind, our array is large, because we have an all-electric house (including our heating system)!
A net metering credit carries over month to month until your consumption begins to exceed your generation. For us, that happened on our November bill. We used 111 kWh more than we produced. Our electricity bill that month was $26.83. But instead of paying Eversource, Eversource drew on our net metering credit from the summer. In fact, the credit we built up over the summer was large enough to cover our electricity bill in December, January, and February too! Then in March, our solar production once again exceeded our consumption.
You can see net metering in action on this annotated utility bill. And if you have questions about how solar and net metering work, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Still not sure about going solar? Come to an open house and see how other Natick residents are utilizing solar power.
Solarize Mass Natick open houses are in full swing! Read about them in this article in the Metrowest Daily News. The next open house is this Saturday, June 4, from 2-4pm at 31 Stacey St. in Natick.
Leo Ryan speaking to a group of interested Natick residents about the benefits of Solarize Mass Natick and Boston Solar.
The MEET THE SOLAR INSTALLER, event on Thursday, May 19th, was a big success! We'll be posting a video of the event soon. The 90 people in attendance learned how SOLARIZE MASS NATICK raises awareness about solar, simplifies the process of going solar, and lowers costs for Natick town residents and businesses.
Boston Solar's pricing is exclusive to the SOLARIZE MASS NATICK program through October 1, 2016, and represents a 25% savings over the average Natick install in 2015. Costs fall even lower as more people sign up to purchase or lease systems with Boston Solar! With so much interest, we are optimistic we are on our way to Tier 5 discounted pricing!
Three families have gotten Solarize Mass Natick off to a fast start! These families have committed to installs with our designated installer, Boston Solar. This is exciting because Solarize Mass Natick is a bulk buy program. The more people who go solar through it, the lower the price for all participants. With these three systems, we have already reached Tier 2 pricing. We need approximately 4 more homes to reach Tier 3 pricing and 30 more homes to reach Tier 5 pricing (assuming each home is an average-sized install for Natick). No matter when you sign up for Solarize Mass Natick, however, you’ll receive the final discounted pricing for the program. Early signers will get rebate checks for the difference between Tier 1 pricing and the final program pricing!
Tonight, you can come out and learn more about Solarize Mass Natick! Solarize Mass Natick officially launches this evening with our Meet the Installer Event at the Natick Community Senior Center at 7pm. (There will be free cookies, which is a hard offer to pass up.)
Adam is in charge of the SolarizeMass Natick Blog. He does not have solar on his own home, but he is excited about Solarize Mass Natick because he wants to help the community, and believes in solar. He is also helping out as a photographer!