By Joan F. Simoneau, Community Reporter
Marlborough – Through April 30, Marlborough residents may take advantage of a special solar discount program that offers discounts on solar electric and hot water systems to home and business owners while reducing their energy bills and making money through the sale of “solar credits.” A workshop to highlight the program was held recently by the company New England Clean Energy and local non-profit, Green Marlborough.
“”Encouraging the installation of more solar, which reduces fossil-fuel emissions, is a perfect fit with Green Marlborough's mission.? Based on community involvement in our programs like the Earth Day Fair and Walks with Green Marlborough, I expect a lot of interest in this program,” Jennifer Boudrie, Green Marlborough's founder and director said.
“There has never been a better time to go solar. State rebates, federal and state tax credits, the ability to sell solar credits, and dropping solar panel prices mean solar electric systems pay for themselves in four to eight years, less than half the time it took just a few years ago,” Boudrie said. “This is great news for the earth and for consumers.”
For every local solar installation that takes place New England Clean Energy, a Hudson-based installer, will donate at least $250 to Green Marlborough.
Green Marlborough was founded in 2007 by a group of local residents dedicated to working together on environmental issues to make a difference locally They host local programs including solar tours, and sponsor giveaways of reusable shopping bags, energy-efficient light bulbs, and low-flow water kits.? Members appear on local public access television WMCT on a regular basis, letting residents know the up-to-date minute reports.
Susanne Morreale Leeber, president and CEO of the Marlborough Regional Chamber of Commerce, voiced support for the solar discount program and its anticipated receptivity.
“City leaders, businesses and citizens have a strong record of protecting the environment, so they will likely provide energetic support for the solar discount program. The beauty of this program is that it helps local businesses lock in low energy rates through solar, while helping raise funds for a local non-profit organization,” she said.? “Both ultimately benefit the city as a whole.”
In 2011 the commonwealth designated Marlborough a “Green Community.” Last year the city increased its recycling rate seven percent and installed a community garden. There are approximately 24 homes that have installed solar electric systems, according to Boudrie.
On Saturday, May 4, Marlborough's Sixth Annual Earth Day Fair will be held at Ghiloni Park from 11:00 a.m. to 3 p.m.? Local and area residents are invited to attend the event which will feature industry experts and educational displays in solar, energy conservation, water, transportation, recycling, gardening and architecture. Boudrie encourages residents to empty their closets, attics and garages as this is an opportunity to recycle electronics and small engine yard equipment.? There will be live music, a playground for children, face painting and a variety of food provided by local markets and restaurants. Returning to the fair by popular demand will be Hanson's Farm, New England Clean Energy, Stevie's Eatery, and singer P. E. James.