Lowell MA : DEEP DISCOUNTED solar energy opportunity

5 Replies

Hey all-- 

I am hoping to raise your awareness of a State-run program happening at this very moment in Lowell, MA. 

FYI that this is NOT a sales pitch-- I am making NO money; pricing already has been determined and locked in by the State as described below, and no commissions whatsoever are being offered here.   I am only letting people know.  

Recently, Lowell was chosen by the Commonwealth of Mass to participate in the State's SOLARIZE MASS PLUS program.   I am a recent volunteer  for this program, and it is open to everyone.  Yes, everyone who lives, owns, or rents property in the City of Lowell can participate in this program.   The group is called SOLARIZE LOWELL

Long story short,  an RFP managed by the Mass. Dept. of Energy Resources, Mass. Clean Energy Center, and the City of Lowell selected a vendor for the program on a city-wide basis.  Based on the principles of higher volume, the company is able to offer bulk pricing to the participants.  This discount, on top of the utility savings, and State credits makes this extra-attractive at the moment, especially as SRECs are vanishing. 

FYI too-- This is NOT a PPA (Power Purchase Agreement) and Leasing is not offered either-- these are Panels to be owned by you.  Financing is also available.  Mass Save is involved and the rates are attractive; low income loans are also offered.  We're working with a number of lenders covering the spectrum from HELOCs to personal loans.  

There are three components/opportunities for installs and upgrades in the Solarize Lowell program:   ROOFTOP SOLAR,  HEAT PUMPS, and a COMMUNITY SOLAR offering. 

Most of us are familiar with rooftop solar by now:   when the property is a feasible candidate for this, you install solar panels on your roof.  Many here are familiar with both sections of a utility bill: Generation (power itself) and Distribution (use/maintenance of wires poles, admin, services, etc.) When Solar is on your roof, both of those go away:  you are both generating your own power and there are no wires or poles in-play.   

COMMUNITY SOLAR  can take a few different forms, but under the program proposed here it is the same thing as rooftop solar... you own the panels, except they're not on your roof.  They're in a commercial site, a meadow, on a retailer's roof, etc.  My understanding is that you'll still get the distribution charge, but since YOU own the "power plant," that generation fee goes away.  This allows people to cut their bill by appx. 1/2 based on same utility usage. It also opens the door to clean energy for the following typically solar-challenged neighbors: 

Condo/Apartment dwellers

Historic Homes/Districts

Property issues-- Slate roofs, structural concerns etc.

Small businesses (including tenancies)

Properties without sufficient sunlight

People who, for one reason or another, don't like the panels on their structure.  

HEAT PUMPS for heating and cooling are also being offered at a discount.  

Again, it's only offered to Lowell properties, but it IS offered to everyone, including investors, businesses, etc.  I recommend you check it out.  

I'm happy to field questions here, but you'll be equally-well  (probably better) served by going to the Solarize Lowell website and signing up for an assessment with the team. 

ALSO if you own property in Lowell, and you're interested in hosting a Community Solar site, you can reach out to me, too.  

Finally, if you're in another City or Town, you should check out the Solarize Mass page at the Mass. Clean Energy Center's website.  Another recent Town that already went through the program was Amherst MA, so if anyone's out there who completed it, you'd be doing a service here by speaking up--   We'd love to hear from you.  

Hope this helps some and maybe spurs some conversation for others in towns across the Commonwealth and beyond.  

Steve

Originally posted by @Socrates Jean-Baptiste :

hey steve this info sound interesting, i liven lowell, a majority of the home in lowell do have slate roofs. how does that work with the solar panels?

 Hey, Socrates-'not a true "majority" of homes have slate roofs, but I do agree there are a.solid number.   The first thing they can do is to take the Community Solar path.  The second thing that they can do is to use ballast mounts IF their roof has a low enough pitch.  After that, I'm not positive, but I'll try to find out for you and report back here.   

@Socrates Jean-Baptiste --   Thanks for your patience here.  Glad to hear you signed up.  

BP actually removed this thread because they misunderstood its intent,  but with great assistance and support from @Umar Javaid , they restored it upon further investigation.    THANK YOU, UMAR & BP for the research and for discerning the real issues here!   

Now... I got the answer to your question yesterday from the Installer-- they handle slate like I described--  it's generally  a community solar project.  The slate is too risky when it comes to damage, and/or it's too expensive for most people to do it and keep their slate.  (Furthermore, JUST my opinion, when you have slate, you probably want to see your slate, not panels over your slate.) 

HOWEVER, these are still options on-site at the property:   Lower porch roofs are often asphalt or rubber and are targets;  Ground mounted-PV is always an option;  SOLAR CARPORTS are a very valid idea, too.  Each of these, of course, assumes that (1) it's desirable to you in any of those locations and (2) the area (that roof, that drive, that land) has the requisite Southern exposure.   If you can't off-set ALL of your power consumption on-site, you can still offset some, and retain that Utility distribution charge savings for what you generate there, then fill in the rest at the Community site...   so it's still a valuable exercise to see if some limited PV can be put on the property.   Don't forget, the same team will assess your property for heat pumps, simultaneously.  

Hope that helps you out.   Please help spread the word-- this is open to EVERYONE In Lowell, but only for a limited time.  You can refer them to me or any of the Solarize Lowell volunteers. 

Thanks!

Steve

Hey all,  in regard to this particular solar program,  I just had my own home's assessment done-- I am looking at 2 heat pumps and 360W panels... and considering my loans, I am actually still cash flow positive in YEAR ONE with a 15 year loan over my typical utility bills.    This initiative is no joke!! 

Again-- no Lease, no PPA.  You own the panels, you get the energy, the benefits, and the tax incentives.  

Lowell MA:   Renewable Power since 1826.   

Want to hear more,  visit the website:  Solarize Lowell 

** Also still interested in hearing from any of my neighbors in AMHERST MA where this program had more than 100 household participants.  

Thanks,

Steve