Berkshire Eagle: Solar Access program a ‘game-changer’ – just ask this Adams homeowner

“Noyes owes his energy-saving success to being the first person to enroll in Solar Access. The year-old state-sponsored initiative is designed to make solar energy more affordable for middle- and low-income households…”

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Learn more about the Solar Access program: cetonline.org/solaraccess

Solar for Low to Middle Income Households

Rooftop solar is steadily growing in popularity throughout the country, but especially in Massachusetts. Due in part to decreasing costs, solar panels provide benefits to homeowners and renters alike. For homeowners, installing solar PV helps them save on their electricity bills and reduce their carbon emissions. Renters can buy into community solar programs that can help renters and those who are unable to get solar on their own homes.

Low to middle income (LMI) households are those that earn 80% or less of the area’s median income. LMI households represent 43% of the U.S. population and 70% of the potential solar customers in Massachusetts. However, there are still some barriers in place against LMI families in accessing solar. These barriers include high upfront cost, low credit scores, and/or renting, and solar programs and financing for these populations needs to be wider spread.

Currently, most of the solar customers in the United States are in the same demographic. The typical residential solar customer is middle to upper class, middle-aged, and usually male. A recent study found that the median income of households that install solar panels in some states was roughly $32,000 higher than the median household income in those states. Solar panels are attractive to this demographic because they also tend to be more environmentally minded, and may have the disposable income to pay upfront costs for solar panels or to buy into community solar programs.

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What’s the Deal with Strategic Electrification?

As action on climate change grows in urgency, some states have already begun promoting energy efficiency and carbon-free electricity as methods to address these environmental problems. Massachusetts, for examples, offers Mass Save, an energy efficiency initiative focused on empowering residents, businesses, and communities to gain access to energy efficient upgrades. While these upgrades are important, according to the National Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP),  strategic electrification needs to be incorporated to fully meet carbon reduction goals.

Photo credit: Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships

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Barrington Brewery Solar Hot Water Installation


Watch this video to hear more about the solar hot water installation at Barrington Brewery!

Since 1995, Barrington Brewery has been serving their own Barn Brewed Beer and food made from scratch. Barrington Brewery was the first brewery on the east coast to install a solar panel that supplies solar-heated hot water for brewing and restaurant use. Solar hot water systems capture heat from sunlight and circulate the thermal energy to a hot water tank. Solar hot water reduces the usage of traditional water heating fuels, such as oil, electricity, or propane, saving consumers money on their energy bill (Mass Clean Energy Center).

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Auburn Court Solar Hot Water Installation


Watch this video to hear more about the solar hot water installation at Homeowner’s Rehab Inc.!

This past October a solar hot water heating system was installed at the Homeowner’s Rehab Inc. Auburn Court development, a private non-profit housing corporation in Cambridge, MA that works to provide affordable housing in multi-family dwellings. They are committed to renewable energy, and took advantage of a scheduled rehab of the Cambridge property to install a new solar hot water system. The solar hot water system was designed for eight residential affordable housing units within the corporation.

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