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Soak up the Sun: Solarize Program Moves Forward

LONGMEADOW, MA – Longmeadow and Springfield moved a step closer to offering residents of both communities reduced costs on solar installation, as their joint application to the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s Solarize solar power program was approved at the end of September. Now, according to Longmeadow Solar Coach Steve Marantz, an installer will soon be selected.

“This has been a long process, but the application was approved and an RFP (request for proposal) sent out for installers,” Marantz said. “We have three semi-finalists that we’ll be deciding on shortly, hopefully no later than mid-November.”

Solarize is a community-based education, outreach, and group buying program that allows residents to band together to save money on
solar electric systems.

The program will allow residents of both Longmeadow and Springfield to purchase photovoltaic (PV) solar systems at reduced prices. The final price is dependent on the collective number of residents that sign up. The greater the number, the lower the final installation cost.

“You’ll be saving on installation since we’re getting a group rate,” Marantz said. “It’s all about getting that group rate.”
Marantz, who said he has solar panels on his home, noted there will be a six-month signup period once an official installer is selected. He said the payback on installing solar panels can take anywhere from 6-8 or 7-9 years, but is well worth the investment.

“There’s nothing better than getting a negative electric bill,” Marantz added. “When the electric company says ‘we owe you money’ at the end of the month, it doesn’t get better than that. It’s a win-win-win: you save on installation, you save on the electric bill, and you’re doing something really good for the planet. I really think it’s a badge of honor to have (the solar panels).”

Since Solarize launched in 2011, the program has resulted in more than 17,000 individuals expressing interest in pursuing solar electricity. Over 3,200 residents and business owners in 63 communities have signed contracts resulting in 21.6 megawatts of contracted capacity.

In addition, the number of small scale solar electricity projects in almost every community has doubled as a result of the program.

For many residents, business owners, and municipalities throughout Massachusetts, installing a solar electric system is a smart investment that converts clean, free sunlight to electricity, reduces air pollution, reduces or eliminates monthly electricity bills, and contributes to the local economy by creating local jobs and supporting local businesses.

Those interested in the program are asked to visit solarizemassspringfieldlongmeadow.com or email solarizelongmeadow@gmail.com.