NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

April 22, 2013

Solar panels bring more savings to Tom's Discount

(Continued)

There are rebate incentives for both homeowners and businesses that install solar panels, he said. Those producing at least 1,000 kilowatts of solar-generated energy a year are eligible to earn Solar Renewable Energy Credits that lower the costs even more.

“Part of the reason for programs like this is to respond to environmental needs. The use of solar energy offsets (electricity produced from) coal burning plants (which generate more air pollution),” Genatossio said. “And in part, these programs jump start the solar market.”

Once only large companies could afford solar energy, Genatossio said, but today his crew’s installation numbers have increased, and include not only small businesses like Tom’s Discount, but also residential units.

For Newman, everything fell into place, both environmentally and financially. According to his agreement with Real Good Solar, the photovoltaic solar panels on his roof will generate about 38,000 kilowatts of electricity a year.

Each panel is hooked up to a computer, which tracks its productivity, he said. Since Real Good Solar guarantees its estimate within 1 percent of total, if panels aren’t producing as expected, the company comes back to fix the problem, he said.

And in the winter when his electric costs decrease, if the panels produce more electricity than Newman needs, he can sell it back to National Grid.

Genatossio said snow won’t interfere with the panels’ function. Snow-covered panels will heat up when the sun hits them. Just like a windshield, the snow will melt and they’ll perform as expected.

From start to finish, the installation is taking about three weeks, said Newman, who expects the project to be operational over the next few days.

“I’m excited about this; I’ve been wanting it for a long time,” Newman said. “I don’t know why more people aren’t doing it.”

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