Residents in four Massachusetts townships are using power in numbers to reduce the cost of going solar. Solarize Mass, an innovative community pooling program launched by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center this past summer, is gaining momentum by the day.
Susan McPhee, the energy conservation coordinator for one of the communities (Winchester), was pleased her townshipsurpassed the target capacity for the first tier pricing. Each community has some leeway in structuring the rebate incentive offered, and that largely depends on the solar integrator selected to offer the package deal to interested residents. The tiered pricing incentivizes a larger volume of customers to sign up for residential solar systems, because average system costs decrease as more homeowners enroll. For example, in Harvard, system costs start at $5.50/watt if under 100 kW are installed in the program, and step down to $4/watt if the program surpasses 300 kW. The tiered structure ultimately leverages community relationships and cohesion by giving homeowners the incentive to encourage their neighbors to sign up and go solar, which is proving to be just as effective of a marketing strategy as typical business-customer PR efforts.
No matter how each community structures the program, residents that sign up are guaranteed to sell their SRECs to their grid utility company for the first 10 years their system is operational, though specific pricing was not available. Thus far 162 homeowners have signed up across the four townships, totaling 829 kW of installed capacity. Read here for a breakdown of each communities’ success!