Letter: Why We Decided to Go Solar


If you’ve been reading the Tab these days, you may have heard about Solarize Watertown

– a state program that helps residents and businesses in Watertown go solar using a bulk-purchase model. In other words, the more if us who opt to install solar panels on our roofs, the lower the cost will be for all of us.

We made the choice to use solar panels to produce our electricity for a lot of reasons. The Big Picture reasons are compelling enough: the supply of fossil fuel is limited, and getting it from under the ground thousands of miles away to our house is tremendously costly, both financially and in its environmental impact. In recognition of these facts, Massachusetts has mandated that our utility companies produce a percentage of electricity from renewable sources. The way they do this is to pay us to install solar panels on our roofs and pay us for it.

Generating electricity from the sun is a very attractive alternative, and we were very excited to learn that Watertown is now offering a tremendous deal to make it absolutely affordable. A representative from Next Step Living came to our house, and we talked about the program and our specific electrical usage. Two weeks later, we met again and were delighted to learn that our house has the perfect southern exposure, with little or no shading. We chose an option that will result in a positive cash flow. Can’t beat that. Each case is different, but in our case:

  • Total system cost = $24,254,
  • Less Incentives from Federal and State programs @ $9,214
  • Our net investment = $15,040, for a system that will produce 150% of the power we use now.
  • Once we get up and running, we can expect to make a monthly payment of $124.43.

However, we will save an average of $63.69 on our monthly electric bill (basically, there will not be one anymore). We will also receive about $100.84 / month in the form of SRECS – which is the monthly payment we will receive for letting NStar use our solar energy to meet their obligations. These payments will continue to come to us, even if we decide to move. And speaking of that, you can expect to see a substantial increase in the value of your home if you have installed solar panels, since the new owner will never have to worry about rising cost of electricity. So, if you followed the math, we end up with a positive cash flow of $40.11 per month.

Like I said, can’t beat that. So I hope that you will consider doing yourself a huge favor and call Next Step Living for a consultation. This offer will only last until the end of June.


Janet Buck

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