The week without power in Scituate has meant that the deadline for Solarize Scituate will be pushed back to Oct. 31, Massachusetts Clean Energy Council (MassCEC) officials said.
According to the town’s website, over 1000 residents in four pilot communities have signed up for an initial evaluation of solar installations, with 235 people in Scituate alone having expressed interest in going solar.
"That’s what we expected," said Jen Gorke, the chief brand and marketing officer for the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center. "We’re pleased with the success of the program. We’e focused on 235 people have expressed interest, and those people will work their way through the process."
With the storm disrupting normal proceedings for about a week, the extension is meant to allow all parties to go through all parts of the process without worry. And with only six of that 235 residents having signed a contract, going through the process will play a large part in how the program ends up working out for the town.
Unlike installing solar panels on one’s own accord, the program helps interested residents receive a discount on the process, which also receives state and federal rebates as well as results in lower overall energy costs.
As such, with the extension, residents in Scituate, Harvard, Hatfield, and Winchester will have even more opportunities to jump on board.
It is also an opportunity for the residents who have already signed up to receive a lower cost for their solar system, as the more people that join the program, the lower overall cost.
The program will host an additional meeting in upcoming weeks to discuss the solarizing option one final time, with the hopes that more people may become interesting in the renewable energy option.
"There is a lot of interest in the community and we expect that number to go up," Gorke said.
Town Planner Laura Harbottle also hoped to see more people sign on to the program.
“We’re hoping that it will grow [in the final two months],” she said. “It’s hard to estimate the numbers. It’s a good program, and we want to see as many people as possible take advantage of it.”
It’s likely that this will be the last solar opportunity for residents for a long time, Harbottle said.
“Solarize MA and Solarize Scituate is a pilot. After the pilot is done…I don’t think there will be any more events,” she said. “We want to make it easy for people to use solar energy and get involved with whatever programs exist, but right now the big program that we’re working with is Solarize MA, and this does give this discount other towns aren’t entitled to. We’re hoping while the discount is available, people will sign up for the program.”
According to Munroe Distributing Co., the program’s solar distributor, residents can chose to purchase a system and pay for it upfront, or lease a system and pay for it monthly.
The average price for a solar unit comes to about $30,000, or $17,375 after rebates. With this program, Scituate residents can pay anywhere from $24,330 - $27,140 or $13,406 - $15,373 for their system.
It reduces the payback time to 5-6 years, compared to 6-7 years on average, MassCEC officials say.
Officials interested in a solar evaluation should contact Misha Glazomitsky at (508)-498-4838 (cell), (508)-536-2913 (work) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additionally, at the final meeting, residents can enter to win a $500 project rebate just for signing up for a site assessment or can win a $500 incentive for signing a contract by the end of the meeting.
More information is available here.