Q: What is Solarize Mass or Solarize Chelmsford?
A: Chelmsford participated in the Solarize Massachusetts program (Solarize Mass®) between April and October 2013, under the name "Solarize Chelmsford." We had 259 residents sign up for free assessments, and 42 signed contracts with our selected installer SolarFlair for residential solar electric systems. Installations on these homes will be completed during 2014 and will result in 230 kilowatts of new electric-generating capacity in town. More information on this program is on the Solarize Chelmsford page.
Q: Can I still get into Solarize Chelmsford?
A: Solarize Chelmsford has ended in terms of our program coordinated with the state and with SolarFlair, and the discounts that were provided in this program to encourage early adopters of this technology are no longer available. However, the state continues to offer financial incentives to encourage adoption of renewable energy, and solar panel prices remain at historic lows. Zero-cost PPAs and purchased systems that start making a profit within 5-10 years are still available.
Q: Are there other Group Purchase options for solar?
A: At lease two possibilities: 1) Any well-organized group can arrange this, see the NREL guidebook for ideas; 2) The MassCEC (the folks behind Solarize Mass) are running a similar program "Mass Solar Connect" through a non-profit in 2017, so any member of that group could participate.
Q: How much does a Solar electric system cost to purchase?
A: This is a bit like asking how much a bathroom costs, so let's talk about a range and what would influence the price. Keep in mind that direct purchase is one of two financing options, the other being PPA as described on the Solar PV page.
Just as a bathroom would be sized with your specific needs in mind -- is it a half-bath, a master bath, how many in the home? -- a solar PV system is sized based on your electric needs. A PV system for two folks with all gas appliances would be a lot smaller than a system for a large family with an electric dryer, electric hot water, and an electric car to re-charge. A typical price range before rebates and incentives is $15,000 to $30,000 or more depending on system size. Many of the rebates and incentives are given in the first year after installation, and reduce the initial cost by 40-50%.
The other major factor affecting price is your home's solar exposure: roof direction and shading. Homes with good exposure need fewer panels. There are some other factors such as roof condition, and in the end the question is best answered by getting a free estimate from several installers.
Q: How can I install a Solar electric system?
A: Please visit the Solar PV page for three easy steps! The state has a detailed guide for residents interested in Solar PV. If you have more questions, please Contact Me and we can exchange email or discuss. Thanks for your interest in Solar PV!