Kim Pinkham: Why one regional solar firm is leery of Solarize Massachusetts program
GREENFIELD — The recent article “Solar contract causes friction” (Gazette, June 11) raised the question of what values we, as consumers, bring to the table when making the decision to go solar.
Over the course of our 11 years as a locally based worker-owned cooperative, PV Squared has seen the Massachusetts solar industry grow to become one of the best in the nation, with exemplary support at the state level.
From the start, our focus has been local, with our commitment to the Valley demonstrated in our sourcing, our hiring and in the work that we do. While we love to see more Massachusetts homeowners going solar, we’ve chosen not to participate in any Solarize Massachusetts programs, including Solarize Northampton, because the program isn’t a good match for our sustainable business model.
Where we strive to create lasting, living-wage careers that strengthen the local economy, the limited term of the Solarize program promotes a boom-and-bust cycle for the contractor that encourages increased staffing to meet demand, which may not last beyond the end of the program.
Similarly, the tiered nature of pricing promotes a one-size-fits-all approach to solar design that means homeowners may miss out on the best solutions for their site. The market for solar in Massachusetts is robust and competitive, and there are a number of resources that make it accessible and affordable. The reality today is that any well-sited solar project pays for itself quickly and offers real value and return on investment over its lifespan.
Our feeling is that anyone considering a solar project should know they have options, and that it’s worth making the effort to work with someone who is both attuned to your needs and aligned with your values.
Kim Pinkham wrote this essay in collaboration with fellow worker owners of PV Squared in Greenfield.