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Richard and Rhonda Fein are active Amherst community members. Richard currently sits on the Public Works Committee, the Transportation Plan Task Force and he served on the Public Transportation and Bicycle Committee for five years.
Richard retired in 2011 after teaching in the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst for 28 years.
After retiring, he began to consider how he could manage his expenses. Solar power popped up on his radar after a Vivint Solar sales person knocked on his door. Fein arraigned to meet with the sales rep but not before doing a lot of online research.
“The Vivint guy came and he gave me a pretty good explanation of solar power and how the extra energy goes back into the grid. The advantage was that there was no up front cost,” Fein said. “I was pretty convinced that if we were going to go solar at all we were going to go through Vivint. Then I read the contract very carefully and read how hard it is to sell your house and that was a deal killer. I don’t want anyone having control over when I can sell my house.”
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Fein was also not impressed by the amount of money he would save with a leased system.
“The Vivint salesman said we’d only save something like $600 per year. So I said no to that,” Fein said.
Fein has coffee with a group of friends every week in Amherst. At one of his meetings, he mentioned Vivint Solar and another local company that he had heard little about—Northeast Solar.
Fein reached out to Northeast Solar and built a relationship with Zach.
“I’ve met Zach before and I liked him. I called him and he said that if I went with Vivint, my money would go to Utah. He was playing on my Massachusetts patriotism! Whereas, if you do it with a locally owned company like Northeast, the money stays in Massachusetts. The local aspect was very important,” Fein said.
Customer care was also very important. Fein said, “We were also very happy with Northeast because all of the people we talked to were very patient. We had a lot of questions and they answered all of them. We liked the people and that was a very big factor.”
For Fein, there are were and are so many great reasons to go solar. The Fein family is concerned with their environmental footprint and global warming issues so they drive a Toyota Prius hybrid car, they have solar hot water heaters, and a roof full of solar photovoltaics from Northeast.
“We’re very happy with them so far. The first month our electric bill was $45, after that, we’ve gotten a credit, so from that point of view, we’re saving monkey and our conscious is clear that we are not contributing to ozone problems,” said Fein. “And it gives you a hedge against rising utility rates. When your our age, a hedge against anything inflationary is a good thing.”
Like the Fein family, so many people in the Pioneer Valley are realizing the benefits of going solar. A solar PV system is a great investment, but be sure to do your research and ask plenty of questions.
The Fein’s were inches away from signing a Vivint Solar lease that might have devalued their home and locked them into a 20 year lease contract. Instead, they bought their system from Northeast Solar out of Hatfield.