Acton Residents to Save $34,000 in Electricity with Solar Energy
Solarize Acton wrapped up on November 4, with 35 Acton homeowners and one business opting to install solar energy systems under the state-sponsored program, according to Acton Solar Coach Chris Schaffner. In all, 34 solar electric and three solar hot water systems were purchased at substantially discounted prices. (One homeowner bought both electric and hot water systems.) Acton achieved Tier 4 pricing, out of a possible five tiers.
In total, the new solar electric and hot water systems have a capacity of almost 190,000 watts, and should generate approximately 190,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year. The clean solar energy will offset 95 metric tons of carbon dioxide, the equivalent of taking 26 cars off the road. The solar electric owners will save a total of about $34,000 a year on their electric bills.
“I'm proud of being the first person signing a contract in Acton, and I was thrilled when the interconnection approval arrived Tuesday so I could turn on my solar electric system and start using energy directly from the sun! Using clean and renewable energy makes me feel good. It helps protect our environment as well as saves money. The process was smooth and pleasant,” said Acton resident Huihua Liu.
“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.
“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. That’s a real win for everyone,” said Schaffner.
“Had market conditions been more favorable, the numbers might have been even higher,” said Mark Durrenberger, president of New England Clean Energy, the solar installer for Solarize Acton. “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,” said Durrenberger.
“The people and town of Acton should be commended for their commitment to clean, renewable solar energy, which will reduce our use of fossil fuels and therefore pollution,” he added.
“My husband and I are very excited to be installing a solar photovoltaic system. Initially we had a number of towering pine trees casting too much shade on our roof, but decided to take them down to enable a successful solar installation. Although the tree work was costly, we now have a more open back yard with renewed sun on our vegetable garden, and no more worries when wind storms are forecast!” said Acton resident Debby Andell.
“We have been very enthusiastic volunteers with the Solarize Acton program, and are now researching a community solar garden for Acton, for those fellow residents who could not install solar panels due to shading and/or azimuth,” Andell said.
Individuals, families and businesses who missed the program deadline but still are interested in solar should contact New England Clean Energy at 978-56-SOLAR or via the company’s website at www.NewEnglandCleanEnergy.com.
Solarize Massachusetts is administered by the Mass Clean Energy Center and the Department of Energy Resources (DOER).
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.