Going solar with your friends and neighbors makes it more fun, doesn’t it? Well, Belmont did just that…and in a big way. Through a community program with Direct Energy Solar, the Belmont Goes Solar community program allowed over 250 households to switch to solar energy, making it the most successful solar campaign in Massachusetts.
The entirety of program, from planning to completion, ran from January through July. After a competitive bidding process, the group selected Direct Energy Solar as the town’s installer partner. There were several community workshops, free site surveys for those were interested and time-limited discount pricing for solar systems for Belmont residents.
Of those 250 homes who went solar, Belmont resident Martin Plass was one of them. The Plass family had always used energy efficient appliances; tried to keep their heating and cooling costs down; and researched other ways to save. But Plass always wanted to do more, so he started investigating solar power. Plass and other likeminded friends and neighbors created a group called “Belmont Goes Solar.” The volunteers worked to educate the community about the benefits of solar energy and to bring more solar power to the town. Martin Plass signed a contract and his new solar system was installed in late June.
“It is such a good feeling when I turn the A/C on during these hot days to know that the power for it comes clean and free from my roof, and I am saving money on top of it. What could be better,” said Plass.
The success of the Belmont Goes Solar program can be attributed to the team of volunteers, supported by the Board of Selectmen and comprised of members from the Belmont Energy Committee, Mothers Out Front, Sustainable Belmont and Belmont Light.
“One of the reasons this program was so successful is that we had a tremendous group of solar coaches and volunteers who really helped their friends and neighbors learn more about solar. It was great to see the enthusiasm for solar energy and energy independence. The Town of Belmont will be an example for other communities to follow,” said Brandon Hart, manager of field marketing and community programs for Direct Energy Solar.