Nestled in the hills of the Berkshires, out of sight, a new kind of farm has been built. Instead of growing food crops, it’s growing energy – solar energy. Just as community-sustained agriculture is gaining prominence, this solar farm is supporting and is supported by the local community. These farms are cropping up across Massachusetts, which is a leader in supporting this growing movement. The state of Massachusetts has a program to make sure that local residents benefit from this new sort of agriculture, called Community Solar.
Save Money on Electricity
Electricity customers of both Western Massachusetts Electric Company (Eversource) and National Grid, can join a local solar farm and save money on their electric bill by buying credits from the farm at a discounted rate. There is no upfront cost to participate. Customers who join now stand to benefit for the life of the solar farm. Customers are placed on a first come, first served basis.
Care for the Environment
Of course, in addition to the economic advantages of supporting Community Solar, there are the environmental benefits. As one participant put it, “These days, it’s nice to have a simple easy way to support a cleaner, heathier environment for the good of our kids and generations to come. Frankly, the fact that we’re saving money is just a bonus.”
Support the Local Economy
According to the Department of Energy, Solar now employs 374,000 workers, or 43 percent of the electric power generation workforce, almost twice as many as employed by all fossil fuel generation including coal, oil, and natural gas generation technologies. Many people would like to install solar energy at their home, but for various reasons don’t want to or simply can’t. Community Solar lets everyone participate in the benefits and in making a difference.
How it works:
- There are community solar farms in Hancock on the grounds of the Shaker Village, behind the Bolton Orchards and elsewhere.
- There is no cost to join.
- Support clean energy while still receiving the same electricity reliability through Eversource or National Grid.
- Each month you will receive a discount on your share of the energy produced at the farm.
- This is open to Western Mass. Eversource or National Grid Electric customers, including both renters and homeowners.
To learn all the details about this special program schedule your free phone consultation with a Relay Power clean power consultant, whose job it is to connect residents with these Community Solar farms.