Solarize Acton Community Pages
Solarize Acton was a joint project of the Town of Acton, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, the Department of Energy Resources, and several Acton community partners to bring you high-quality, low-cost, solar energy installations. These web pages were for us community partners to bring you news and updates, and to encourage your participation in making the program a success. In this program, the more people signed contracts by October 31, 2012, the lower the prices were for everybody.
Thanks to you, Acton will have 179,122 new watts of solar photovoltaic (PV) power and 175 square feet of new solar hot water panels, for a total equivalent to 188,232 Watts. This came from 34 PV and 3 hot water contracts with 35 households and one business. We reached Tier 4 pricing, bringing the basic price per watt down from $4.89 to $4.14. New England Clean Energy, the hardworking company chosen as Solarize Acton's installer, has finished two of the installations already, and will be busy over the next 12 months finishing all the others.
Nearly 500 households asked for solar power assessments, and many more learned about solar power. By the time of our last tabling at Octoberfest, almost every Acton resident we asked had heard of Solarize Acton. Some households that couldn't be served by New England Clean Energy because of the specific terms of the Solarize Acton contract went out and found other installers, and other households are in ongoing conversations with New England Clean Energy about installations to be done later, when trees get cut down, or when financial circumstances change. The impact of the momentum we created together will continue for years in to the future.
What else can you do right now?
1. Acton Community Solar Garden Some of you couldn't get a solar power installation because of site issues such as roof angles or shade. Two people on the Solarize Acton community team, Debby Andell and Greg Voss, are researching the possibility of a community solar garden for Acton, where a large solar power installation could be set up that brings credits to the electric bills of the households that choose to participate. If you would like to be kept up to date on what is happening with this effort, or if you are able and willing to help with the research and launch of this project, please let Debby and Greg know, by filling out this form: http://tinyurl.com/ActonCommunitySolar
2. Free Energy Audit, via Sagewell, Inc. If you are getting a solar PV system, you have to have a recent free energy audit, via the MassSave program, before you can get the state rebates. If you are not getting a solar system, a free energy audit is still a great idea: you find out about how to save money by using less energy, and the program provides rebates, free materials, and access to many other programs that can help reduce your electric bill. One easy way to request your free energy audit is via Sagewell, Inc at http://sagewell.com. Sagewell thermal imaging trucks went through many streets in Acton earlier this year, so you can also find out if they have a free thermal image waiting for you to look at. Whether they do or not, there's a simple checkbox after you enter your address to request a free energy audit.3. Introduce yourself to our sponsors. Many organizations provided support for getting the word out about Solarize Acton. They are all fine folks that you might want to get to know better. Brief descriptions and links to learn more are here
New England Clean Energy, the installer for Solarize Acton, has arranged for customers to have the option of a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). In a PPA, you pay no money to get a solar power system on your property. The system is owned and maintained by a PPA company, and you pay only for the electricity you use, at rates less than you pay now. For more details, see the Power Purchase Agreement page.
If you have hesitated about getting started with Solarize Acton because you thought a large investment would be needed up front, there's an alternative for you now. Sign up for a free site assessment and specify in the signup form that you are interested in a PPA, or, if you have already started with Solarize Acton, ask your New England Clean Energy representative about this way to get started with Solar electricity for little or no money.
The Solarize Acton community team is happy to announce that the final date for signing Solarize Acton contracts has been extended from September 30 to October 31. New England Clean Energy and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center have accepted our request for a new deadline, based on the recent availability of the no-money-down Solarize Acton Power Purchase Agreement option, and a flurry of new interest in Solarize Acton in September.
The first nine Solarize Acton solar power contracts have been signed, bringing the starting price down for an average system by $2,400 since the program began. Solarize Acton has five pricing tiers. At each tier, the installed price of a system goes down another 25 cents / watt. The tiers are reached when the total wattage of all contracts signed exceeds 25, 50, 150, and 250 kilowatts. As of Sep 2, the signed contracts total more than 60 kilowatts.
Contracts must be signed by October 31 to be eligible for this tiered pricing.
The first four Solarize Acton solar power contracts have been signed, bringing the pricing down for an average system by $1,200 (25 cents per watt).
The first Solarize Acton contract was signed for a 7500 Watt system near Powder Mill Road in the South of Acton.
Sixty interested households gathered at Acton Town Hall with staff from New England Clean Energy to learn about the programs and prices offered as part of Solarize Acton.
Here are the slides from New England Clean Energy, slides from the Mass Clean Energy Center, and, thanks to Acton TV, a video of the entire presentation, including the entire Q+A. The plans include a purchase option, and a leasing option. Other options include a choice of solar panel types, roof mounting or ground mounting, monitoring equipment and more. Households can also choose to install solar hot water systems instead of, or in addition to, solar PV systems. Details on prices and plans can be found on the New England Clean Energy website.
New England Clean Energy, formerly known as New England Breeze, was chosen by the town of Acton to be the Solarize Acton installer. Nine bids were received. New Engalnd Clean Energy was the successful installer for Solarize Harvard as part of last year's Solarize pilot program - over 70 installations are in process in Harvard.
Room 204 in Town Hall was filled with Actonians who wanted to learn about solar energy in general, and the Solarize Acton program in particular. Here are the slides presented by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center. The presentation explained solar-generated electricity (Photovoltaics, or PV), why they are such a great bargain now, and how the Solarize Acton program will make them an even better deal.
The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center announced today that Acton was chosen as one of 17 towns and cities to participate in the second year of Solarize Mass. This will give Acton technical support and a small marketing budget to bring solar power installations to as many Acton residents and businesses as possible over the next few months. The first step will be soliciting bids and picking an installer. The next step will be encouraging Actonians to sign up for free site assessemnts and, if their sites are appropriate, signing contracts for installations. The special Solarize Acton pricing will be available until October 31, 2012, and installations will be complete within 1 year of signing contracts.