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Jan 18

Outer Cape Energize encourages use of solar panels

Outer Cape Energize encourages use of solar panels

http://www.capecodtimes.com/news/20180117/outer-cape-energize-encourages-use-of-solar-panels

By Mary Ann Bragg

Jan 17, 2018

 

PROVINCETOWN — Albert Carey moved to town in August from New Orleans with his sister, and they were paying their monthly electric bill of about $100 easily enough for their small house. But a shock came last week when their December bill of $721 arrived.

“I love living here,” Carey said Wednesday evening at the informational meeting of Outer Cape Energize. “But I’m seeing what we can do to lower the bills.”

Given the 20 or so citizens at the meeting at the Center for Coastal Studies, one of several planned by Outer Cape Energize, Carey and his sister appeared to not be alone in their concerns about staying warm in the winter at a reasonable cost. The brother and sister had talked to their neighbors about solar panels, and had spent the last week investigating them, primarily interested in saving money over any overarching concern about carbon emissions.

“I’m interested in the bills,” Carey said.

Outer Cape Energize, which is an all-volunteer collaboration of the energy committees in the towns of Eastham, Wellfleet, Truro and Provincetown, is launching an effort to encourage residents and small businesses to invest in solar panels. The more solar panels purchased means a greater discount for everyone in the program.

Jay Gurewitsch, a member of the Provincetown Recycling and Renewable Energy Committee, moved from New York to Provincetown with his husband “to be able to live our values.”

“Part of that was to live sustainably,” Gurewitsch said, who has 20 solar panels on his house. “We actually need to install more.”

In December the Outer Cape solar-panel program — part of the statewide Solarize Mass — received a boost from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (CEC) and the state Department of Energy Resources to help with marketing and technology. Each town can receive up to $5,000 for marketing, said CEC Solar Senior Project Manager Elizabeth Youngblood.

Since its launch in 2011, Solarize Mass had increased the adoption of what are considered small-scale solar arrays in 63 cities and towns, amounting to 3,200 new installations at homes and business.

The towns of Bourne, Wellfleet and Provincetown participated in earlier rounds, but the latest cooperation of the energy committees in the four outermost towns on Cape Cod is important, Youngblood said. A few other examples of collaboration come to mind, including some “very tiny towns” in western Massachusetts, she said.

“They usually do find additional value working together as a group,” Youngblood said.

The Outer Cape group does have bigger plans, said Outer Cape Energize member David Mead-Fox of Wellfleet, who is also a member of the Wellfleet Energy Committee.

“We hope this is the beginning,” Mead-Fox said Wednesday as the presenters described electric cars, rebates for new home appliances, low-interest loans for energy efficiency upgrades and home energy assessments.

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