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November 2, 2012

Solarize program reaches top tier

Sign-up deadline extended to Sunday

NEWBURYPORT — Leaders of an initiative to encourage use of solar power here have announced they have reached Tier 5, the top level, of the state program’s participation system, which means users will receive the maximum discount.

In addition, the registration deadline for the program has been extended until Sunday due to disruptions associated with Hurricane Sandy.

In the waning days, a 25 percent discount is available for all participants who complete paperwork to purchase and/or finance their system by the deadline.

Close to 30 residences and businesses have already initiated paperwork to participate.

Solarize Newburport spokesmen, in tandem with SunBug Solar, a commercial installer in Arlington, say that their program has contracted to provide more than 250 kW of solar installed capacity on residences and small businesses around the city.

The Solarize program, designed by MA Clean Energy Center, a state agency, provides group-buying incentives, enabling residents to put solar power on their roofs that they might otherwise not have been able to access.

The organization has held numerous briefing sessions in recent weeks, in part to inform potential users whether they qualify. Close to 50 percent of structures here are not candidates because they don’t face the right direction or there is too much shade falling on the roof.

Molly Ettenborough, the city’s municipal energy and recycling coordinator, said, “The Solarize volunteer team has done a great job getting the word out and educating folks about the practicality and affordability of solar energy and the environmentally savvy residents of Newburyport responded.

“This can be just the beginning for the city as we seek more ways in the coming year to help residents save money on energy while making that energy more cleanly.”

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