Solarize Upton

Solarize Upton

The Solarize Upton program offers discounted solar photovoltaic systems to Upton residents and small business owners, with discounts of 25%-30%, through SolarFlair Energy of Ashland, MA.  To schedule a free site assessment with SolarFlair Energy, and, if you site is suitable for solar, to get a cost proposal, please go to http://www.solarflair.com/solarize/solarize-upton and complete the request form, or send an email to residentialsales@solarflair.com or call 508-808-4424.

If you have any questions for Solarize Upton’s Solar Coach, Brad Rolph of Upton’s Green Community Committee, please email Brad at uptonsolarcoach@gmail.com or through the Green Community Committee, at green@uptonma.gov.   The Solarize Upton program closes on May 31, 2017.
 

More information about the Solarize Upton program and Solarize programs in general is shown below:

Solarize Upton is a Solarize Massachusetts (Solarize Mass) program, a partnership of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) and the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER). Solarize Mass seeks to increase the adoption of small-scale solar electricity in participating communities through a competitive installer solicitation process that aggregates buying power to lower installation prices for participants.  Since Solarize Mass launched in 2011, 58 communities have run Solarize Mass programs and 3,400 residents and small business owners have signed contracts for solar PV systems. 

Participation in Solarize Mass is competitive.  Communities must submit applications to the MassCEC.  An application includes a list of the team that will run the Solarize program, the plans for publicizing the program (the team is expected to do much of the outreach,) and how the community will evaluate the proposals it solicits from solar installers to be the installer for its program.  Benefits of the Solarize Mass program include notice to solar installers of the request for installer proposals, technical assistance in evaluating installer proposals, other program management help, and the award of a grant of up to $5,000 for outreach expenses.  In most cases Solarize programs are run by volunteers, and every program has a designated Solar Coach who is responsible for answering questions about the program.

The Solar Coach for the Solarize Upton program is Brad Rolph and he can be reached at uptonsolarcoach@gmail.com.

The Green Community Committee decided to apply to run a Solarize Upton program as we saw it as an opportunity for Upton residents to acquire solar PV systems at a discounted price.  Our application was accepted and we solicited proposals from solar installers to be the installer for Solarize Upton.  Eight solar installers responded and we selected SolarFlair Energy of Ashland MA to be Solarize Upton’s solar installer.  Among other factors, the installer proposals were evaluated based on the competitiveness of pricing and the quality of the equipment and service.  

Solar PV systems can save a homeowner money, and make a positive impact on the environment.  The financial benefits of a solar PV system, which will generally be substantially more than the cost of the system, include:

  • Avoided electricity costs through either the use or the sale (“net metering”) of the electricity generated by the system.
  • Federal and state tax incentives.
  • Sale of Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs).  SRECs are tradable certificates issued to owners of solar electric systems at a rate of one SREC per 1,000 kWh generated.  SolarFlair will assist you in finding an aggregator or broker to sell the SRECs.

The process of purchasing a solar PV system through SolarFlair includes:

  • Assessment of the solar energy that can be collected at your site. 
  • Preparation of a proposal showing the cost of the system and the financial benefits of owning the system.
  • Design, installation and interconnection of the system.
  • If desired, assistance with applying for a Mass Solar Loan to pay for the system.
  • Assistance in contracting with a broker/aggregator for the sale of SRECs.

Mass Solar Loan is a state program available to buyers of solar systems.  It includes an 1.5% interest rate buy down available to all qualified borrowers.  The program also includes income-based loan support available to qualified borrowers with incomes below certain thresholds.

SolarFlair conducts free, no obligation site assessments.  Upon a request for a site assessment, a qualified SolarFlair team member will assess the site using a variety of satellite imagery tools including Google Earth, Bing Maps and Pictometry.  The site will be rated based on orientation of the roof surfaces, size of the southernmost roof surface, potential for shading from adjacent trees/buildings, and rooftop obstructions such as vents or chimneys.  Generally, sites will be rated as follows: 

  • Definitely - Azimuth within 40 degrees of south; minimal obstructions and shading; substantial surface area 
  • Maybe - Azimuth within 60 degrees of south; minor obstructions; minimal shading; substantial surface area 
  • Probably Not - Azimuth outside of 240-120 range; significant shading potential; no significant surface area 

After requesting a site assessment, you will receive a phone call to either set up a site visit if your site is categorized as a “Definitely” or a “Maybe” or to explain why your site is not a good site for solar PV and to suggest other energy-saving actions. 

A technical assessment site visit will be conducted for viable sites.  A Residential Sales Associate will assess and photograph your attic to determine if reinforcement is needed, assess and photograph your electrical panel to determine if any upgrade is needed, and take roof area and SunEye shade measurements.  The Associate will also collect your electrical use information.

Using the information collected at the site visit, the Residential Sales Associate will prepare a proposal for you and email it or hand-deliver it, and answer any questions you may have.  If you accept the proposal, and sign a contract, your project will be turned over to a Project Coordinator.

SolarFlair is a turn-key solar installer.  They design, permit and install, and commission your project from start to finish.  They handle all coordination and paperwork with the following entities:

  • Utility company for interconnection
  • Lender for Mass Solar Loan
  • Town for building and electrical permitting
  • Broker to sell Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs)

The Solarize Upton program closes on May 31, 2017.  Your contract for a system must be signed by that date.

Links

For more information on residential solar systems in Massachusetts, please visit:  http://files.masscec.com/solar-loan/SolarElectricityResidentialGuide.pdf.

To schedule a site assessment with SolarFlair Energy, or for more information on the Solarize Upton program and to read the SolarFlair FAQs, please visit:  http://www.solarflair.com/solarize/solarize-upton. 

For more information on the Mass Solar Loan program, please visit: http://www.masssolarloan.com.

This document describes the history and outcomes of Solarize programs run in Massachusetts and other states: http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy12osti/54738.pdf