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Letter to the Editor: Steven Marantz

I can only hope that Alex Grant does more due diligence for his law practice than he did for his “analysis” of the Massachusetts Solarize Program. Apparently, on the basis of a letter he received from the town, he concluded it was bad policy for Longmeadow’s municipal government to become involved in the Solarize Program.

Mr. Grant should understand that the genesis of the Solarize Program is the Massachusetts Global Warming Solutions Act passed in 2008. This law mandates the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in Massachusetts with specific goals-the first one coming in 2020. Under that law, cities and towns are expected to help reduce fossil fuel usage. The Solarize Program does this by promoting the growth of solar power for homeowners and small businesses by lowering the cost through bulk purchasing and competitive bidding.

As the State of Massachusetts would like to see as much residential solar as possible, municipal involvement seems to be totally appropriate. In fact, our town government would be remiss if it did not take advantage of this opportunity to help our residents save a significant amount of money should they want to install solar arrays.

It is unfortunate that Mr. Grant is so distrustful of state and local governments that he did not explore a program that is designed to help his bottom line and our planet. For Mr. Grant to say folks with solar “will perhaps save a lot on electricity” only displays his lack of knowledge about solar electricity generation. How about solar power actually producing a negative electric bill? I personally can testify to that. And I am truly amazed that Mr. Grant thinks the price of electricity will not rise in the future. Has he looked at his electric bill lately? The “demand charge” Mr. Grant is so concerned about only went from $6 to $7.

Finally, the average cost of a system under the Solarize Program in Longmeadow is closer to half of the $30,000 figure he cites from the Boston Globe (a well known authority on solar power?) At the moment, the federal tax credit is 30%, and the state’s SMART incentive provides cash payments to solar owners for ten years, benefits Mr. Grant fails to acknowledge.

Mr. Grant’s views on the Solarize Program and climate change are simply ill informed. However, his attempt to dissuade Longmeadow residents from even investigating a program created to help them save a significant amount of money while reducing their carbon footprint is just irresponsible.

– Steven Marantz
Solarize volunteer, Longmeadow