Phyllis Theermann

Did you know?

  • Solar is less expensive than retail electricity before incentives in many cases today!

Average cost of system installed in MA over last year = $3.52/W[1] (utility, commercial and residential), which results in an approx. levelized cost of energy of 12.4 cents/kWh over the 25 year warranted life of the system.

  • The solar industry employs over 119,000 people – more than the coal industry, and is one of the fastest growing industries in the US.[2]
  • $22 of incentives go to the fossil fuel industries for every $1 of subsidies that go to renewable energy.[3]
  • Over 70% of the net additions to the world’s electric grids were renewables last year.[4]
  • The costs for solar panels have fallen by over 60% in the last year and a half.[5]
  • Residential systems in MA typically pay back in 6 years.

Environmental Benefits[6]

Typical 6kW system saves 5 tons of CO2 annually – this is about 18% of the carbon footprint of a typical family in Wellesley (assumes 4 family members, nat. gas heating, 2 cars with 240 miles/mo. and 20.4 mpg, recycles most waste)

Equivalent to:

  • Removing 1 car from the road
  • Planting 1 acre of pine or fir forest
  • Recycling 1.8 tons of waste instead of sending it to a landfill

Cost of Solar

Avg. residential system size in MA:  6kW (would supply about 2/3 of the average Wellesley home’s electric usage)

Cost for avg. residential system in MA last quarter: $4.41/W[7], or             $26,500

Commonwealth Solar II Rebate:                                                              ($2,000)
Federal 30% Investment Tax Credit:                                                        ($7,950)

MA Tax Credit:                                                                                      ($1,000)

Net System Cost:                                                                                   $15,500

Annual Electricity Savings @ 12.6₵/kWh:                                                  $850
($29,000 over 25 year life of system, assuming 3% annual electric rate growth)

Annual Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC) Income:                       $1,900 – $3,700 ($19,000 – $30,000 over 10 years)

15% return on investment, about a 6 year payback

Financing Options

Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) – zero cost initial investment, plus buying electricity at lower cost from solar array owner

Solar Lease – zero to minimal cost initial investment, savings on electricity, plus lease payments to solar array owner

How to Start

  1. See if you have a roof face that faces mostly south
  2. Check for shading (if no or limited shading at noon in mid-winter you’re probably in good shape)
  3. Go to (Massachusetts Clean Energy Center) and search “Finding a Solar Installer” or contact me, Alex Keally –, 617-217-1502. 

References below

[1] “SRECs Minted and MWh reported to the PTS,” Updated January 15, 2013, filtered for systems with Commercial Operation Date in 2012 or 2013, Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources,

[2] “National Solar Jobs Census 2012,” The Solar Foundation,

[3] Bill Clinton, Keynote speech at Solar Power International, September 12, 2012, Orlando, FL

[4] REN21, 2012. “Renewables 2012 Global Status Report,” Table R1,

[5] GTM Research, “US Solar Market Insight – Q3 2012”

[6] Environmental Benefits from US Environmental Protection Agency, Greenhouse Gas Equivalency Calculator,

[7] Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, “Commonwealth Solar Summary Report,” Block 12 – Rebate Awarded

Phyllis Theermann

energy action

Pick your means to energy reduction

Get your Wellesley Energy Action Guide here

Simple actions can reduce your household’s green house gas emissions 50% over 5-10 years.

Phyllis Theermann

Many walk/run by the Golembewski-Wilson home with little understanding of the true inspiration it is.

Beyond their incredible lawn and gardens, there is so much more.

As the family is passionate about sustainability, they have given careful thought and consideration to their footprint. They have created a variety of systems – as well as some fabulous guests — to benefit their family as well as the environment. 

For those that missed them on Sustainable Wellesley’s House Tour, here is a quick synopsis that will have you re-evaluating and tweaking some of the processes in your home.

Some of these ideas you have heard about, and some you havent. For example:

The Doggie Dooley
This In-Ground Pet waste disposal system comes in handy with the family’s 5 rescued dogs. It enables them to contain all their solid waste and allow it to decompose naturally on their property.  The Doggie Dooley has been around for 40 years. 

The Compost Bins
The family has a 4 bin 4’ x 4’ composting system where they compost all feasible organic material on their property.  The compost is then used to supplement their garden beds and top dress the lawn to improve the fertility and soil structure naturally. 

Rain Barrels
The two rain barrels they have on their property are used to collect water to irrigate their nursery stock as well as for their containerized plants. 

The family has adopted seven chickens as companions.  They have four bantams and three standard chickens.   The hens have been a wonderful addition to the family and the property.  Not only are they entertaining to watch, but they do a fair share of work as well:  they provide the family with eggs, help with insect control (grubs and ticks are some of their favorites), dethatch the lawn while scavenging, and provide nitrogen rich droppings for the compost piles. 

This is a composting system that uses worms to turn organic matter into soil.  In the winter time when the snow is too deep and the family can not get to their compost piles, they are still able to continue composting with the use of the vermicomposting system. 

Vegetable Garden
Many years in the making, the family has created a vegetable garden made up of 11 raised beds.  The beds themselves are constructed with a recycled plastic “wood” and allow for intensive agriculture.  They utilize vertical trellises to make the most of the bed space.  They not only eat out of the garden throughout the summer, but also manage to extend the season a bit with the use of cold frames (harvesting carrots and brussel sprouts in January!).  The garden provides more than enough produce for the family, with ample to share with the dogs, chickens, friends, and neighbors.    

Recycling Center
The family has designated a tiny space inside their back hall to contain their recyclables.  Based on the products that the RDF recycles, they created an efficient area to sort and store their recyclables.  It takes about a month before the family has to bring the containers to the RDF! 

With all organics being composted, and everything possible being reused or recycled, as a family of three (plus their multitude of companion animals), they only generate approximately one kitchen size bag of trash every two to three weeks.

Now its your turn.

What is your green story?

Thanks to the Golembewski-Wilson Family for sharing and inspiring us!