Mass. Solar Program Launched In Time For Cooling Season
Mass Energy’s first installation through this program is taking place at the home of Amy and Jeff Trueblood of West Roxbury in April. Weather permitting, the project was expected to be completed within 48 hours.
It is anticipated that the Trueblood’s solar electric system will produce 3,000 kWh per year of electricity, thereby cutting their electric bills by 50 percent. This will be particularly helpful in the summer, when electricity costs are highest due to air conditioning use.
“We wanted to install the system because it’s important for us to support renewable energy initiatives,” said Amy Trueblood. “It’s a very concrete way for us to put our belief in the value of alternative energy into practice. And we’ll be more self-supporting with lower electric bills. Maybe we’ll encourage more homeowners to seriously consider going solar themselves.”
Green GrantsThe system installed for the Truebloods would typically cost about $20,000. However, Mass Energy was able to bring down the cost by bulk purchasing PV and working with a pre-established design and installation team.
These lower costs, combined with a grant of approximately $8,500 and available tax incentives, means that participating consumers save approximately 50 percent.
“We intend on making solar energy part of Boston’s energy mix,” said Larry Chretien, Mass Energy’s executive director. “It may be a few years before solar is a significant percentage, but it will be done one roof at a time. People like the Truebloods are helping to make it possible.”
Market InitiativeMTC’s Solar to Market Initiative is a long-range effort to expand the production and use of solar energy in Massachusetts. The objectives of the program are threefold:
1. Reduce the cost of solar electricity by concentrating efforts in geographic clusters and through bulk purchasing.
2. Support a growing solar industry in the commonwealth.
3. Raise awareness among the general public about energy issues and the benefits of solar power.
Evergreen Solar Inc., a Marlboro, Mass.-based manufacturer of PV panels, is a key partner in this first of what is expected to be many solar electric installations for residential and commercial properties with Mass Energy.
“This is an important step forward for Massachusetts,” said Mark A. Farber, president and CEO of Evergreen Solar. “It can enhance our balance of trade economic development, and even improve our national security. This state has a long-standing reputation for developing and supporting technologies that can help future generations to lead better lives.
“With MTC’s support, the concentration of solar electric companies in Massachusetts will increase the number of high-tech jobs in research, development, engineering, and manufacturing, as well as in sales, installation, and service,” Farber continued. “Evergreen Solar was born and bred here in Massachusetts, having commercialized technology first developed at MIT, so we’re proud to be a part of this effort.”
Installation TeamThe installation team for the Trueblood home will be lead by Zapotec Energy. “Photovoltaic systems, such as the Truebloods’, work extremely well in Massachusetts — especially during the summer when electricity demand is at its annual peak,” said Paul Lyons, Zapotec’s president.
Also on the installation team will be Lighthouse Electrical Contracting Inc., Pembroke.
Lighthouse’s president Herb Aikens said that electricians working for him are members of IBEW Local 103, which has been supportive of the PV market. “Our union and our contractors are committed to partnering with groups like Mass Energy and MTC,” said Local 103 IBEW business manager Mike Monahan.
For more information, visit www.NewEnglandWind.org.
Publication date: 04/28/2003