We understand that making the switch to solar energy is a serious decision and that you may have questions about some specificities. For your convenience, we’ve compiled a collection of frequently asked questions to make your switch to solar a smooth one! Check out some of the FAQs below:
1. What is Boston Affordable Energy Coalition?
We are a coalition consisting of Codman Square Neighborhood Council, Second Church in Dorchester, Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation, Co-op Power, and Resonant Energy. Our goal is to build an accessible solar energy movement.
2. How much do the panels cost?
The panels are free! You don’t have to pay for the panels, the install, or the maintenance. We ask that you rent your roof for the install of the panels and then you receive a portion of the electricity as a credit on your electric bill.
3. How do I qualify?
The roof needs to large enough, sunny enough, and under 12 years old. There is no income or credit score requirement.
4. I’ve heard of lease arrangements before with hidden fees. How do I know I’m not going to get scammed?
The program we are offering is not a standard solar lease, which is common with no-cost solar panels. You sign a hosting agreement and are agreeing to rent your roof for the install of solar panels and then share the production of the system’s output. You receive the electricity from the system in the form of credits on your electric bill. You are NOT required to make any payments before, during or after the system is installed. This model is different than other no-cost solar options because:
- Savings are higher
- No strict credit score requirement
- No ongoing bills to the solar company
- Easy to move or sell the house/apartment
- Easy to work with condos
- Includes flat roofs
Feel free to call any of the coalition partners for a reference or to get more information.
Second Church- Alphonse Knight, 617-872-5961
Codman Square Neighborhood Association- Cynthia Loesch
CSNDC- Dave Queeley, 617-825-4224
Resonant Energy- Madeleine Barr, 617-506-9238
Your neighbors- Elnora Thompson
5. Is there an option to purchase the panels?
Yes! You have the option to purchase the panels at years 10, 15 and 20 of the hosting agreement.
You also have the option to purchase the panels right off the bat. Through this method, you would be able to access the federal and state incentives. Massachusetts has some great initiatives for residents to purchase panels and then finance the upfront costs with the Massachusetts Solar Loan. A typical homeowner can usually see a return on investment on this purchase with 5-7 years depending on the roof orientation and the electric bills.
6. How much can I save?
We estimate that hosting solar can lead to between 10%-30% savings on your electricity bill. Direct purchase of panels ensures full ownership, though, and equate to increased monthly and cumulative savings. We will have better knowledge after we review your utility bill, and a site survey is completed. This way we have an exact size of the system and the amount of electricity you use.
7. What if I need a new roof?
There is no cost associated with maintaining or installing the solar system. However, a new roof would interfere with the production of the system. We do not recommend installing on a roof that is under 12 years old.
Good tip!- The panels do act as a barrier to the elements protecting the roof from the weather!
8. I don’t live in Dorchester, can I still participate?
Yes! You can work with Resonant Energy to see what other programs and incentives you qualify for depending on the utility company you have. Sign up here.
9. Can I get involved in ways other than installing solar?
Yes! In addition to installing solar on your own home, business, or house of worship; there are a number of ways you can assist this campaign. We are always looking for more folks in the community to spread the word about the benefits of going solar. Contact us if you want to learn about how, or if you have any other ideas on how to get involved in community climate action!
10. What else can I do for my home to help combat climate change?
Our partner, Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation, offers energy efficiency tests and retrofits for homes. This would be a great first step to take in learning more about your own environmental footprint. To read more about it, check out their website: http://www.csndc.com