Published in the Needham Times
Needham recently wrapped up its Solarize Mass Plus Program.
The Solarize Mass Plus Needham began in September 2019 and concluded on May 31. It was implemented by volunteers of the Green Needham Collaborative with support from Tatiana Swanson, the finance and procurement coordinator for the town of Needham.
Solarize is a commonwealth of Massachusetts program to promote renewable energy and reduction of energy use for homeowners around the state. It was implemented by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center in partnership with the Department of Energy Resources and local communities willing to take it on.
After a competitive bidding process on behalf of the town, MassCEC contracted with Boston Solar — for rooftop solar panels — and N.E.T.R. — for air source heat pumps — as the installers for Solarize Mass Plus Needham. Needham also piloted promoting the Drive Green program, run by the Green Energy Consumers Alliance. Drive Green informs people about the benefits of electric and plug-in hybrid cars and negotiates discounted no-hassle lease and purchase prices from participating dealers.
Green Needham also announced that the Solarize program resulted in 52 new solar systems installed by Boston Solar in Needham, bringing the number of homes in town with solar to over 500. Seven air source heat pump systems were installed by N.E.T.R.
Air source heat pumps operate to both cool and heat a home using electricity and are considered energy efficient. They are also said to be particularly effective for homes with older oil heating systems and for homes that do not have air conditioning. Rebates, federal tax credits, plus Mass Save and State loan programs can help make these purchases more affordable. Heat pumps can also reduce the carbon footprint of a home.
Although the program was affected by the onset of COVID-19, which required canceling several promotional events and making home assessments and installations more challenging, all the collaborating partners adapted.
For more information on Green Needham Collaborative projects, visit https://greenneedham.org.