WellesleyWeston Magazine

SUMMER 2012

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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Sun's Up OM C Getting Started Are you drawn to the idea of powering your home with renewable energy from the sun? Don't let common misconceptions — solar is expensive, we don't get enough sun, PV arrays are ugly — get in your way. Our towns are served by several installers who can assess feasibility, estimate cost, and take your installation from start to finish. Getting started: n FIND OUT IF YOUR PROPERTY is a candidate for solar panels. Do you have sufficient roof or ground area with the right orientation? Can your roof carry the weight? n IF TREES NEED TO BE REMOVED, what is the cost and would you take them down? n CONSIDER VISUAL IMPACT: can the panels be seen from the street or your neighbors' property? Will curb appeal be affected? n WEIGH THE AESTHETICS: panels and trim vary in appearance, as do mountings. Some are more discreet, productive, or costly. Ask to see the proposed layout. n DO YOU CARE WHERE your panels were manufactured: USA or China? n UNDERSTAND THE ENGINEERING: will each panel have an inverter so some can work while others are in shade? Can cables and other utilities be discreetly located? watchmeter.com/home/day/wellesley-college# where panel activity is monitored hourly and aggregated. Solar PV is feasible here because we get enough sun, roughly the same as Madrid, Spain, and our electric rates are comparatively high. In Weston, NStar customers pay approximately 19 cents/kWh, a rate that includes distribution, generation, and renewable energy/energy conser- vation charges. In Wellesley, comparable rates are 12-13 cents/kWh. Massachusetts has created a friendly regulatory environment for solar. A key element is net metering. A special two-way electric meter is installed by the utility which allows power to flow to the home when more electricity is needed than the PV system can provide, and flow back into the grid when there is excess output. When the meter runs backward the provider is buying back power at the same rate the homeowner pays because of rate parity. 118 WellesleyWeston Magazine | summer 2012 COUR TESY OF SUNBUGSOLAR.COM C U O R E T S Y O F U S N B G U S O A L . R

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