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October 24, 2012

Tannery signs on to solarize effort

Inclusion of marketplace ups discounts for users

NEWBURYPORT — Proponents of solar power recently signed The Tannery Marketplace as a participant and officials say it’s a major contract that will benefit other users.

Municipal leaders and volunteers months ago created a Solarize Newburyport team to facilitate the growth of solar power in this city. They have contracted with Sun Bug Solar of Arlington to assess properties and sign up potential uses.

The program is facilitated by the Clean Energy Center, a state-based organization focused on renewable energy.

Solarize Newburyport officials say they they have reached “the fourth tier of discount.” They have contracted with 27 residences or businesses and have until Oct. 31 to execute more contracts.

The more residents and businesses that sign up mean lower costs for all users, said Molly Ettenborough, the city’s energy and recycling director.

Local solar officials said they hit Tier 4 after David Hall, a real-estate entrepreneur and principal of the Tannery, signed on for 60kW more solar, bringing Solar Newburyport’s total to 210kW.

“David’s leadership for the ‘greening of Newburyport’ is legendary,” Ettenborough said. “His Tannery Marketplace is a solar showpiece in the Northeast and along with the Farmers Market and multiple arts and culture entities, he helps make the city a great place to live, visit and work.”

Hall, an early user of solar in the city, said, “My main motivator is to help other people by bringing the cost of solar down for all.

“Of course, sound business sense made that an easy choice.”

Ettenborough said that the local organization needs “just 40 kW more to hit the max discount of 25 percent for everyone.”

Michael Strauss, chairman of the mayor’s Energy Advisory Committee, said, “This is terrific news for the city and its residents. Higher discounts for all means more money stays in the city and circulates locally.”

The discount levels, which increase as solar adoption rises, are designed to have neighbors encourage neighbors as each level of discount pricing is offered to all who participate.

Tier 4 represents an 18 percent discount. The highest level of discount, Tier 5, would result in a 25 percent discount to users here, solar organizers say.

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