Homeowners and utilities alike are choosing solar energy at a faster rate than ever before in the United States. The explosive growth of solar power is partly a result of the falling cost of solar panels. Rebates and incentives have also contributed to the United States’ biggest year ever for solar. But decreasing costs are only one of the many benefits of solar energy. You can also improve your health and protect the environment by reducing your reliance on fossil fuels and installing a solar energy system at your home or business.
What is a solarize program?
Even if you’ve been hearing about Solarize programs lately (like Solarize RI, Solarize CT, or Solarize NY), you might not know what “solarizing” your home or neighborhood actually entails. Solarize is sometimes confused with community solar, but in reality the two terms refer to completely different solar options. So what does this trendy verb mean, and who does it apply to?
Installing solar panels can significantly increase your property’s value, according to a new study from the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBL). The report, titled “Selling into the sun: Price premium analysis of a multi-state dataset of solar homes“, builds on previous research which concluded that homes with solar panels in California sold for more than those without.
In addition to California, the new study investigates home pricing trends Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, Maryland, North Carolina, New York and Pennsylvania by analyzing the sales of over 20,000 homes in these states. LBL’s analysis of the housing markets in these other states shows that the premium paid for homes with solar is not a phenomenon isolated to the Golden State.
The takeaway is this: If you are thinking about purchasing a solar system for your home, the study’s conclusions should give you a boost of confidence that you are making a smart investment. LBL finds that homes with solar panels will benefit from a ‘solar premium’ when they are sold because buyers are willing to pay more for a home with solar panels. Continue reading
As the cost of solar continues to fall and the financial and environmental benefits of solar PV grow, more organizations are collaborating to provide reasonably priced solar options to homeowners. For example, National Grid recently announced that it is partnering with EnergySage to offer a solar marketplace option to its Rhode Island customers. Recently, Comcast also announced a partnership: the cable company will offer a discounted solar option to its customers through an exclusive partnership with Sunrun. Find out more about what the Comcast solar offer means for you.
Electricity prices in Massachusetts, Connecticut and other New England states are on the rise again this winter. Utilities cite an undersupply of natural gas to the region as the problem behind the increases. But could you take matters into your own hands by turning to rooftop solar in MA to cut costs instead?
How much will electricity cost rise?
In Massachusetts, National Grid and NSTAR customers on a ‘basic service’ tariff will see the amount they pay per kilowatt-hour (kWh) increase by on average 37% from this month and 29% from January 1st, respectively. This will translate into bill increases of roughly $33 and $28 per month for average households. Similarly, prices for Connecticut Light & Power (CL&P) customers will rise by 26% from the beginning of 2015 – working out to about $17/mo in additional electricity expenditure. Investor-owned utilities like NStar and National Grid cannot not increase basic service tariffs arbitrarily, but rather must seek permission from the relevant Public Utility Commission (e.g. DPU in Massachusetts) and provide justification for any proposed changes. Common reasons include network infrastructure investment and fuel price increases – the latter of which is behind this winter’s hikes. Continue reading