Now Up To 250 Installations
Plus: Electric Vehicle Campaign Starts in October
by Jan Kruse
In our May/June 2016 issue, we covered the initial success of the Belmont Goes Solar campaign, at which time more than 170 Belmont residents added solar panels to their homes (“Belmont Goes Solar Sails Past Initial Goal”). This is an update.
The Town of Homes might be ready for a new name: the Town of Solar Homes. About 250 homeowners opted to purchase rooftop solar during the Belmont Goes Solar (BGS) six-month campaign that ended June 30.
More Belmontonians purchased solar for their homes than any other solarization campaign in the entire state. In total, including the 30 solar systems in town prior to the BGS campaign, there will be about 1.5 megawatts of residential solar, eliminating 2.5 million pounds of CO2 emissions per year. Simply put, that’s equivalent to annually removing 370 cars or 4,000 barrels of oil, or planting 1,600 acres of trees (about half of Belmont’s land mass).
In addition to individual households saving money on personal electric bills and helping the environment by producing clean, renewable energy, the town will also benefit. Solar installations can save Belmont money by reducing the amount of conventional electricity purchased during summer peak demand when electricity is most expensive. And the BGS steering committee, comprised of Belmont Light and members of the Belmont Energy Committee, Sustainable Belmont, and Mothers Out Front, negotiated with the campaign’s preferred installer, Direct Energy Solar, to install a solar system at no cost on a Belmont school or other town building.
According to Belmont Facilities Director Gerald Boyle, there are two options under consideration: Either a 50-panel rooftop solar array at the Wellington Elementary School, or a 25-panel system at the Wellington and a 25-panel system at the Chenery Middle School. First, an assessment must be completed to determine if the Chenery roof can bear the load of the solar array. (The Wellington roof was designed to hold up to 300 solar panels.) “Public input will be solicited prior to making a final decision,” notes Boyle.
The Electric Vehicle Campaign
Riding on the success of the solar campaign, another green campaign is coming to Belmont this fall. Belmont Drives Electric will kick off with a special event during the week of October 3. The campaign will be run by the Belmont Energy Committee, Sustainable Belmont, Belmont residents, and Belmont Light. If you already own or lease an electric vehicle, or would like more information and want to be notified of the kick-off event, please email BelmontDrivesElectric@gmail.com.
Jan Kruse is a member of the steering committee and co-chair of the marketing and outreach for BGS. She is also the founder and member of Sustainable Belmont and vice chair of the Belmont Energy Committee from 2010–2016.
(See also BCF Newsletter, May/June 2016, page 11, “Electric Vehicles: What You Need to Know” by Kim Slack.)