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Thanks to Solarize Amherst, a Massachusetts Clean Energy Center program, Amherst residents are now producing 1,950.00 kWh of solar energy.
Amherst sustainability coordinator, Stephanie Ciccarello, said, “it was clear that Amherst residents were interested in residential solar because of their response to Northampton’s success and in their over-arching environmental commitment.”
According to the MassCEC, “The purpose of the Solarize Mass Amherst program was to increase the adoption of small-scale solar electricity systems through a grassroots educational campaign.”
Residents of Amherst chose Northeast Solar, a company out of Hatfield, to do the installations.
“The Solarize effort offered residents an opportunity to participate in a very tangible way. Because the town went with Northeast Solar as its contractor for the program, it also supported the local economy because all aspects of the solar purchase/financing and installation were through local businesses,” Ciccarello said.
Amherst resident, Rob Spence was one of the first homeowners to sign up for the program. He said that going solar helped him save some money and gave him the chance to lessen his impact on the environment.
“I went solar because it made financial sense and I care about a warming planet. I have not changed the way I go about my day since going solar, but my electric bills have been negative since March,” Spence said.
Solarize Amherst made going solar easy by using a tiered pricing model—more customers meant lower install rates. A total of 174 homeowners signed up for solar.
“The town’s residents recognized the economic advantage of buying local and fully supported the program,” said Gregory Garrison, Northeast Solar general manager in a statement.
Garrison said that over the next few years, the area will see over $8 million dollars in economic benefits and reduce area carbon monoxide emissions by 35 million pounds.