For the past three days, a crew of two men from Solar Flair Energy has been working on our house, preparing the installation of rooftop solar panels. So far, they’ve got the framework up on the roof, and part of the wiring in the attic. They should finish off the job by Monday, after which the town inspector and the Nstar inspector have to sign off on the installation. And then, we go live with power from the sun!
Here’s what we’ve got so far.
What makes this feasible is a combination of tax credits and a mind-twisting system of utility rebates (called SRECs) for renewal energy. It’s a substantial upfront investment from us, with a projected payback period of 7-10 years, after which it should start earning us money as we feed electricity into the grid (whatever we generate beyond our own needs). It should lower our energy bills, while reducing our carbon footprint, dependence on fracking and foreign oil, contribution to nuclear waste, and so on.
It’s all part of a program called Solarize Arlington, in which residents and business owners in town joined together with one provider to gain quantity discounts on the solar panels and other equipment. Other towns in Massachusetts are following suit. Our installer told me today that they’ve got jobs ahead of them as far as the eye can see.