Phyllis Theermann
Photo: Becky Wasserman, Resonant Energy

Photo: Becky Wasserman, Resonant Energy

Don’t Delay Your Solar Decision: Financial and Environmental Costs Will Only Rise

Easy Ways to Make 2017 Your Solar Year

After installing solar panels on it’s roof, Wellesley’s Temple Beth Elohim received a lot of interest among the congregants about home solar options and thus organized a Home Solar Forum last week.

This event was timely as the State’s SREC program will expire in less than a year so folks wanting to take advantage of extra enticing financial benefits should act soon. Massachusetts residents must have their systems installed and *interconnected* by March, 2018 to take advantage of the current SREC2 program. The potential of a major tax reform is another reason people should act rather than wait.

Why should you consider solar?
Beyond the urgency of local climate change, solar ensures our community health and resilience, while investments yield more than two times the return of a typical investment.

“Our 8,710 (Watts STC) solar system is projected to generate over $70,000 over 25 years,” said Bev Rich of Natick at the Home Solar Forum event.

How to get started.
EnergySage, the “Kayak or Expedia of solar,” is a good place to start. This website allows users to obtain competing solar quotes easily online. The Boston-based company’s product scours 400 screened contractors and provides up to 7 unbiased, competitive quotes. Audience members were intrigued as sometimes they felt they pay the “Wellesley premium” (when contractors jack up prices in affluent towns).

For those that can not put solar on their roof, there are other options.
Is your house shaded? Do you rent? Resonant Energy offers a variety of community solar options for those that can not put solar on their own roof. The idea is that they put solar panels on large roofs (i.e.house of worship, school, etc.) which are leased, or owned by several individuals.

Another easy option is to choose renewable energy from Eversource and National Grid, or in Wellesley via its Municipal Light Plant’s Power To Choose program.

The theme for the evening was consider solar or some sort of renewable energy soon as they provide cleaner air & water, a stronger energy future, and greater energy independence.

If you missed this event and want to learn more, head over to Green Needham’s Solar 101 evening info session on Wednesday, June 7th from 7:30pm-9:00pm at the Christ Episcopal Church, 1132 Highland Avenue in Needham.

Local residents who attend the Trinity Covenant Church in Lexington wrote in recently to announce that after two years of planning and changing their plans due to solar caps and other issues, they finally have electricity flowing from the sun in a new 25KW Solar Canopy, which will offset 1/3 of their electric bills each year. Join them on May 20th from 4-4.30 to learn more.

Phyllis Theermann

o            If you care about our town, WE ENCOURAGE YOU TO RUN! You can run for any Board, whether you have previously served in town government or not, and whether or not someone else is running! Deadline is January 17th so head over to Town Clerk’s office soon. More details here.

There are many important issues that will be decided or voted on by Boards and by Town Meeting in the months to come. Be part of it, including the fate of the North 40; the closing or renovation of Hunnewell, Hardy, and Upham schools; a new private sports facility at 900 Worcester Street; our town’s commitment to renewable energy; and countless others.

o            For only $3 a month the typical Wellesley home can receive 10% of its energy from renewable energy. That is a really simple way to reduce your greenhouse gas emissions. WELLESLEY’S POWER TO CHOOSE PROGRAM enables residents like YOU to pay a small premium to purchase 10%, 25%, 50% or 100% of your power from regional renewable sources (such as the Spruce Mountain Wind Farm in Maine).

More than 10% of Wellesley residents already participate in this program, making us 3rd in the US in 2014 for voluntary renewable energy participation. However, approximately 200 new households could move Wellesley up to 2nd place! Learn more and sign up here.

o            In Wellesley, so many decisions will be based on the UPCOMING UNIFIED PLAN. Lets show how strong our sustainability constituency is by letting the Planning Board know what the community — us — wants! Upcoming meeting dates here.

o            Go BEHIND THE SCENES to learn about the design and construction of a net zero energy home that will produce as much energy annually as it consumes. Check out a home that will achieve exceptional energy performance, healthy indoor air quality, superior thermal comfort, and long term durability.

While the home is under construction, you will get the unique perspective of seeing the building and systems while the walls are still open for viewing, plus a short explanatory presentation by the experts. Details here.

o            SCHOOL GARDENS event on Wednesday, January 25th, 2017. Have one? Want one? Learn more at this free event by John Forti, Director of Horticulture at Elm Bank. Be there by 10.30 in The Parkman Room at Elm Bank.

o            REMINDER: BRING YOUR BAGS!

The town’s new bag bylaw kicks in this month, plus its the waste reduction and energy/cost savings thing to do. Simply move those re-usable bags you have to the front seat of your car, or the basket on your bike so you don’t forget them.

o            Don’t miss the next Wellesley GREEN COLLABORATIVE MEETING this Wednesday, January 11 from 9:15 to 11 am, in the Wellesley Free Library’s Wakelin Room. Topics include the Historical Commission’s proposed demolition delay; WasteWise Wellesley campaign; NRC eco-landscaping initiative, Grow Green Wellesley; and WHS student presentations on community projects.

Phyllis Theermann

power-to-choose-2016
For only $3 a month the typical Wellesley home can receive 10% of its energy from renewable energy. That is a really simple way to reduce your greenhouse gas emissions.

Wellesley’s Power To Choose program enables residents like YOU to pay a small premium to purchase 10%, 25%, 50% or 100% of your power from regional renewable sources (such as the Spruce Mountain Wind Farm in Maine).easy-to-make-a-difference
More than 10% of Wellesley residents already participate in this program, making us 3rd in the US in 2014 for voluntary renewable energy participation. However, approximately 200 new households could move Wellesley up to 2nd place!

Did you know?

  • A typical Wellesley home (750 kWh/month) that shifts all of its electricity to renewable sources for one year, provides the same environmental benefits as driving 15,000 LESS miles in the average car
  • Our Town’s electric rates are so low that even a 100% participant would have a lower rate than residents of surrounding towns such as Needham and Natick

Please consider choosing Renewable Energy as it provides cleaner air & water, a stronger energy future, and greater energy independence.

You can easily sign up to participate at 10%, 25%, 50% or 100% online HERE or by calling the Wellesley Municipal Light Plant at 781-489-7766. They can also provide an estimated cost, based on your home’s electric use and participation rate.

Once you are signed up, the Wellesley Municipal Light Plant adds 4 cents per kWh to your bill each month and the proportional amount to its renewable energy purchases. You will see your percentage of participation and the amount of the surcharge on your monthly electric bill listed as “Residential Renewable.” There are no installations or hookups, this is simply a paper transaction and can be canceled at any time.

What a gift to your family and our future.