Trying to solarize Millbury and Sutton
Towns host Solar Fair to get people interested in household solar panel program
BY KEVIN KOCZWARA
The Sutton Elementary School gymnasium will transform from a place where school children burn off energy to a place where home owners will learn about what they can do to solarize their homes on Saturday, June 9, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Energy Fair is an attempt by town officials in Millbury and Sutton to get people interested in taking part of the SolarizeMass program the towns were selected to participate in.
SolarizeMass was launched by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Energy (DOE) this year with the goal of reducing the cost of small-scale Photovoltaic (PV) solar systems. Millbury and Sutton applied to the program as a joint effort and were selected to take part in the program, which is in it’s second year.
“The way they started it was it was going to be a friendly competition between the two towns. Since then we have met and formed a committee, there is about five people from the town of Millbury and the same from Sutton that are kind of the steering committee for the project,” Millbury Town Planner Laurie Connors said about the two town’s efforts to be part of the program. “We are working cooperatively together to spread the word. There is a lot of work to get down to get the word out there. We’ve decided to team up for the benefit for certainly both communities and the environment.”
The way the program works is the cost of installing the solar panels goes down as more people sign up. There are five tiers based on how many kilowatts are produced by the total number of interested consumers. As each tier is met the cost of installation goes down. There will be only one installer, who will price the tiers in accordance with the SolarizeMass program and it will get all the business in the two towns, which brings down the cost significantly, according to Connors, because the company will purchase materials in bulk and work in one specific area rather than travel to install.
“It’s beneficial because it’s a bulk purchasing program. Because the installers know they’re going to get a certain number of applicants, they offer a lower rate than they normally would if it was just a single person who called up and said, ‘hey we need a single system,’” said Connors. “Because they know they’re not going to have to worry about any other installers in town, they know they’re going to get a large volume of folks. It’s going to be cheaper for Millbury and Sutton people than it will be in the foreseeable future.”
As of Monday, June 4, Connors said there are 90 people interested in the program in Millbury.