Transition Town Bedford Considering Ways to Solarize Bedford

March 5, 2013

Submitted by Frances Bigda-Peyton

SolarizeMassAt the February meeting of Transition Bedford, solar coach Kaat Vander Straeten presented how Wayland, Sudbury, and Lincoln collaboratively won a solarization grant from the Solarize Massachusetts program. As a result, these communities added 137 systems totaling 1281 kW.  The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center launched the Solarize Massachusetts program in 2012 with the goal of reducing the cost of small scale solar photovoltaic (PV) systems and increasing the adoption of the technology. Wayland, Sudbury and Lincoln were among the first communities to take advantage of the program.

Solarize Mass relies on two components: a coordinated community education and outreach effort targeted at home and business owners that is organized by a partnership of municipal leaders, grassroots volunteers, and a selected PV installer and a tiered pricing structure that provides increased savings as more people in the community contract for solar PV.  Through this process, an installer is competitively selected which passes along savings from reduced marketing costs to customers.

Transition Town Bedford is considering applying for a 2013-14 solarization grant, possibly joining collaboratively with adjoining communities. We are looking for volunteers who want to learn about solarization and assist with the grant and outreach process. This is a chance to make an environmental difference and gain some new skills in this exciting field.

Because the mission of TT Bedford is community resilience, we are also looking into other options for developing local, alternative energy.  At our next meeting, we will discuss the Solarize Massachusetts grant further and considering other alternative energy options. Chief among these is the idea of a community shared solar garden for those whose homes and businesses does not qualify for solar installations.  Several neighboring communities such as Harvard (Mass) have established solar cooperatives already. Other towns have joined in the solar gardens program in order to lower energy prices for town citizens (Methuen).

New members are welcome to our next Transition Town Bedford meeting on March 11th. Transition Bedford has been involved in several initiatives aimed at promoting local food, increasing the number of families getting free energy audits, and networking with other communities as part of Sustainable Middlesex.

For more information about Transition Bedford’s next meeting, contact Frances Bigda-Peyton at [email protected].

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