Press Release: State, Local Officials Cut Ribbon on Solar Access Clean Energy System for Amherst Homeowner

            10/15/2018

CONTACT:
Emily Gaylord, Center for EcoTechnology
413.687.2132 (cell) | 413.586.7350 ext. 236
emily.gaylord@cetonline.org
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   ­

State, Local Officials Cut Ribbon on Clean Energy System for Amherst Homeowner

 Solar, renewable heating system funded by state program for low-to moderate income residents

Amherst, Mass., October 15, 2018 – State officials from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center today joined representatives from the Center for EcoTechnology and UMass Five Credit Union to celebrate the recent completion of a solar and renewable heating system for a homeowner in Amherst. Paulina Alenkina, a homeowner in Amherst, flipped the switch on her home’s new renewable-powered heating system as part of Solar Access, a state-supported program for homeowners installing solar panels with heat pump technology. The program is funded through the state’s Affordable Clean Residential Energy Program, sponsored by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), and the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) as part of the Baker administration’s $15 million Affordable Access to Clean and Efficient Energy initiative.

Solar Access is a time-limited pilot program for middle-income homeowners in Massachusetts. There are many programs that offer financial help to pay for a portion of the cost of solar or a cold climate air source heat pump. This program, available to only 100 homeowners, combines solar electric and air source heat pump incentives with a state-sponsored loan to fully finance both technologies. CET, a local non-profit, has partnered with SunBug Solar and Girard Heating and Air Conditioning to bring affordable, renewable energy to those who may not readily be able to purchase this technology. Participants in the program enroll in a UMassFive Credit Union loan and pay less than they spend now on energy costs. To participate, a family of four would need to fall in the income range of $68,289.01 – $91,052.00. Participants can call CET with income-related questions. Alenkina, a CET employee, was one of the first homeowners to sign up. Five more projects will come online this month.

“Participating was a no-brainer,” said homeowner Paulina Alenkina. “My family and I are saving on my energy bills and getting clean energy all at the same time.”

Solar Access is truly a community effort, and is supported by the MassCEC and the DOER.

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How to be a Smart Recycler

Massachusetts residents have long been known to recycle – in fact, a 2015 Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) report shows that nearly 95% of MA residents say they recycle on a regular basis! In the spirit of the new school year and starting fresh, we have some tips and tools on how to recycle even better and smarter in your home, business, or community.

What’s the deal with contamination?

You may have heard through the grapevine that there is a problem with contamination in our recycling industry. Contamination occurs when incorrect items are put in the recycling bin or sorted wrong. Down the line, this can lead to machinery malfunctions, increases in recycling costs, and unsafe work environments for the 13,000 MA employees working in the industry. This video shows the process of where your recyclables go after placed in your bin. When recyclables are contaminated, entire truckloads can be thrown away. The challenges of contamination have led to the implementation of China’s National Sword Policy. Some common contaminants include plastic bags and films, food waste, Styrofoam, and hazardous waste.

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Myth Busting Residential Solar Power

Thinking about switching to solar power but have some concerns? It is easy to become overwhelmed with ideas and opinions, especially today with the rate at which information is produced and spread, but it’s important to take the time to seek out the truth. There are a lot of misconceptions about residential solar power, so let’s bust the myths and clear the clouds that surround your potential solar dreams!

Rooftop Solar

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Announcing: Solar Access | Affordable Home Heating

Solar Access Massachusetts family

Paulina is a participant in the Solar Access program. Here she is with her children outside their home.

We’re excited to announce the launch of our new program: Solar Access! With support from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and the Department of Energy Resources, we are able to offer affordable, renewable energy for your community.

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NESEA Pro Tour with the EcoFellows

EcoFellows in front of passive house on NESEA your

By Morgan O’Connor, Marketing and High Performance Building EcoFellow

Recently the EcoFellows toured two very different, yet highly efficient, building projects in Western Massachusetts. The tour was put on by our friends at the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA) as part of their Pro Tour Series. Both projects were the work of local contractors Kent Hicks Construction, one of them being his own home and office.

Kent lives in a former grist mill that was built in 1850. In order to convert it into a home residence and office space he completed a deep energy retrofit. A deep energy retrofit is a way of renovating a space to address all energy loads and increase efficiency.

However, what made this project exceptional was Kent’s dedication to maintaining the integrity and aesthetic of the old mill building. Throughout the project, deconstruction and repurposing of original materials was a priority. This allowed for unique design features, like wainscoting made from their original metal roofing, and a dining room table made from the mill’s machinery. The flooring downstairs is also original and shows the indentations of former mill employees’ work stations. This project is a testament to how style  and energy efficiency can work together to create a beautiful and sustainable home, without compromising historical authenticity.

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