What is Solarize Mass Plus Lowell?
In 2011, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (Mass CEC), in partnership with the Green Communities Division of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER), launched the Solarize Massachusetts Program with the goal of reducing the cost of small-scale solar photovoltaic systems and increasing their adoption. To date, 69 communities (75 unique campaigns) are benefiting from the program.
The City of Lowell is one of 7 communities selected to participate in the current round of Solarize Mass. In addition, Lowell will be joining the Solarize Mass Plus Program in which community members can install air source heat pumps (ASHP) too. While traditional systems burn fuel to create heat, ASHP work by moving heat into or out of a home. ASHPs are an efficient source of heating and cooling in cold climates like Massachusetts.
Solarize Mass Plus provides
- A fixed-discounted pricing structure based on economies of scale, using the leveraged buying power of the community participants to drive down the price for all.
- A single, approved installer for each technology, focused on and accountable to the Lowell community.
- Coordinated education, marketing and outreach to home and business owners organized through the joint effort of municipal leaders, grassroots volunteers and a selected installer for solar PV and for ASHPs.
Solarize Lowell Team
Like the other communities participating in Solarize Mass this year, Lowell has designated a municipal representative, Energy Manager Katherine Moses, who will offer municipal support for the program, and community solar coaches, Mikaela Hondros-McCarthy and Cormac Hondros-McCarthy, who will coordinate the community outreach process, answer questions from residents and businesses, and be the main point of contact for community members looking for more information on the program.
Interested in solar PV and/or ASHP?
Now is the best time to go solar. The best homes for solar receive very little shade from surrounding trees and have a south-facing roof, though east and west facing roofs can have good results.
If you are considering a purchase, incentives and tax credits from the government help drive the initial cost down, especially when combined with the special Solarize Mass tiered pricing. You can also go solar for no money down through special leasing programs.
Heating is 30% of the total energy use and accounts for the largest household energy cost in Massachusetts. Though air-source heat pumps require electricity to operate, efficient ASHPs use 40% to 70% percent less electricity than traditional electric-resistance heating and can use the clean, affordable electricity from a solar PV system to provide heating and cooling for a home. The cost benefits of ASHP can be most compelling for residences that heat use electric baseboard heaters, oil, or propane, or for new construction projects without access to natural gas, including in communities currently under a natural gas moratorium.