While more of us are trying to go solar, energy companies continue putting up new roadblocks from threatening the Congressional Black caucus not to promote solar in urban areas or else they would raise bills targeting families of color to offset their losses. We’re urging our leaders to go big on renewables because for millennials they are now the mainstream form of energy. By reducing thousands of pounds of CO2 monthly building domestic economy, cutting the cost of living and empowering middle class and urban communities. Because of this the solar boom has been termed the “sun rush,” a new type of gold rush. The price of solar panels has decreased as their popularity has increased among millennials seeking to live comfortably with less debt. And it makes sense solar is an investment that continuously pays while utility companies only offer lifetime debt. Recently, a battle has been raging across the U.S. between utility companies and homeowners with solar.
Power companies seem to be embracing a socialist perspective when it comes to people getting energy without them. The conflict is about equity, big energy feels residential customers with solar panels are not paying their fair share of maintenance of the electric grid. Who new the electric grid was everyones problem? According to the US Energy Information Administration most of the grid has been neglected for decades. “Construction of electricity infrastructure in the United States began in the early 1900s and investment was driven by new transmission technologies, central station generating plants, and growing electricity demand, especially after World War II. Now, some of the older, existing transmission and distribution lines have reached the end of their useful lives and must be replaced or upgraded. New power lines are also needed to maintain the electrical system’s overall reliability and to provide links to new renewable energy generation resources, such as wind and solar power, which are often located far from where electricity demand is concentrated.”
And it seems no one wants to pay for this infrastructure, according to Business Insider “the U.S. electric grid is old, with most transmission lines and power plants decades into their lives.The grid modernization debate and initiatives have been on the table for years, and the cost would be 5 trillion to replace the grid!” The question for millennials is; why spend 5 trillion to make electric companies more money when before solar and wind (which actually cut down reliance on the grid) no one cared about it? In the same article it was reported that The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) said in its 2017 Infrastructure Report Card – which rated energy infrastructure at a D+ — that “most electric transmission and distribution lines were constructed in the 1950s and 1960s with a 50-year life expectancy, and the more than 640,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines in the lower 48 states’ power grids are at full capacity.” So going solar or renewable actually makes more sense than just the economics.”
The average cost of a kitchen or bathroom in Massachusetts is $10,000 a solar panel system in Boston is $18,350 before any rebates or incentives.The average utility bill in Massachusetts is as high as $300 per month.Several factors are fueling the growth of residential solar energy in Boston and Massachusetts. n terms of potential savings resulting from installation of a residential solar PV system Boston ranks second. In Bostons middle class area of Hyde park the average home could expect a savings of $34,000 over 20 years after solar purchase. In Boston’s pricey 02108 zip code a system would produce 5,263 kilowatt-hours of clean, renewable electricity per year. This Boston solar homeowner would save a net $72,557 over the installation’s lifetime.
The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) have launched the Mass Solar Loan program for Massachusetts residents interested in directly owning their solar electric projects.This program, designed to make it easier for homeowners to finance solar electric projects on their homes, will work with banks and credit unions to expand borrowing options through lower interest rate loans and encourage loans for homeowners with lower income or lower credit scores. Homeowners interested in the program can find a list of program solar installers and lenders on the program website, www.masssolarloan.com .
Federal Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit – A credit of up to 30 percent of qualifying project costs
Massachusetts Personal Income Tax Credit – A credit of $1,000 or 15 percent of qualifying project costs, whichever is less
Net Metering – Allows customers to receive credits on their utility bill for excess generation in any given month. The credits can then be applied during times when the system is not generating electricity. Net metering credit values depend on a number of factors, including system size. Residents can learn more about net metering from the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities
Avoided electricity costs – Cost savings from the electricity generated by the solar electric system
Mass Solar Loan – A state-run program connecting homeowners with low-interest loans for solar electric systems, and additional incentives for income qualified customers
Solarize Mass – A group-buying program providing discounts for residents in participating communities
Mass Solar Connect – A group-buying program providing discounts for members of participating organizations