Solarize Mass effort yields 45 new installations

By Chris Maza
Longmeadow News

LONGMEADOW – The deadline for the Solarize Mass program has come and gone and the results have exceeded expectations.

Speaking before the Select Board recently, Steve Marantz, Longmeadow’s coach for Solarize Mass, said the effort was “extremely successful, particularly for Longmeadow.”

A partnership between Longmeadow and Springfield gave residents the opportunity to take advantage of discounted rates for solar installations thanks to bulk purchasing. A total of 45 Longmeadow households opted to participate and install photovoltaic energy generation systems on their homes. Marantz had previously told the Longmeadow News in late May that the goal was to enroll more than 30 homes. At that time, 24 homes had been signed up.

“In terms of what we told the state we were going to do, 45 systems is definitely on the high side of what Longmeadow was going to produce and we did it,” Marantz said.

Marantz indicated that sales in Springfield were not as strong and Longmeadow “really kind of carried the ball.”

Marantz said the systems will collectively generate 416 kilowatts, the equivalent of taking 1,150 cars off the road or planting almost 130,000 trees.

Because the energy sales will surpass 400 kilowatts, Solar Flare, the installer for the program, also pledged to make a donation of a 5-kilowatt system to the Willie Ross School for the Deaf.

Marantz also took the opportunity to criticize the Tennessee Gas Pipeline project during his presentation, stating it would negate the positive impacts of the Solarize Mass Program.

The Select Board has voted not to move ahead with purchasing the land for the proposed metering station for $2.7 million. In response, the Longmeadow Pipeline Awareness Group petitioned for a Special Town Meeting to vote on a zoning bylaw change that would prohibit industrial developments from residential property in hopes of blocking the project. A public hearing on the proposal will take place Aug. 15, followed by the Special Town Meeting on Aug. 20.