NEWBURYPORT — Residents and businesses in Newburyport now qualify for lower solar energy rates than rates for traditional sources of energy under the Solarize Massachusetts Program (Solarize Mass).
As a result of Solarize Mass, the average Newburyport participant who enters into a contract to buy solar electricity will now pay an average of 12 cents per kilowatt hour, according to a release from Massachusetts Clean Energy Center. This rate is lower than the average statewide price of 15 cents per kilowatt hour for traditional energy sources, which are a mix of coal-fired, nuclear or natural gas generation.
Residents and businesses have until Sept. 30 to participate in the bulk purchasing program, which would secure further price reductions as more participants sign up.
“I hope Newburyport’s renewable energy leadership will inspire residents in this community and beyond to take advantage of this program that not only cuts energy costs, but creates local jobs,” said Alicia Barton McDevitt, CEO and executive director of MassCEC.
Under the leadership of Gov. Deval Patrick, Massachusetts set a goal of achieving 250 megawatts of solar by 2017. As a result of the Solarize Mass program and other incentives, the state is more than halfway to its goal – with 143 megawatts of solar installed to date, the equivalent of powering 22,618 homes for a year.
To date, a number of residents and businesses in Newburyport have banded together to participate in the program, contracting 12 solar systems for a total capacity of 71 kilowatts (kW).
Solarize Mass, which is available in 17 Massachusetts communities including Newburyport, offers five tiers of discounted pricing based on the total solar capacity contracted under the program. As more residents and businesses contract for solar, the price for solar energy drops. Solarize Mass is administered by MassCEC and the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources.
The average Massachusetts household uses 667 kilowatt hours per month, equivalent to an average $100 monthly bill for traditional energy sources. By installing a solar electric system under the Solarize program, Newburyport homeowners entered into contracts to purchase solar would pay $80, with the price dropping if more people sign up for the program before the deadline.
A committee of Newburyport volunteers and municipal officials selected a partnership between Somerville-based SunBug Solar.