Belmont Goes Solar Program Extended Until June 30

Photo: Rebecca McNeill with her daughter was the first homeowner to sign up for solar panels in the Belmont Goes Solar campaign. 

Due to popular demand, the Belmont Goes Solar community-run program is being extended until June 30, according to a news release from Belmont Goes Solar, the ad hoc group supported by the Board of Selectmen, and formed by members of the Belmont Energy Committee, Mothers Out Front, Sustainable Belmont and Belmont Light.

Since its kickoff in January, more than 175 Belmont homeowners have signed up for a rooftop solar system, more sign-ups over a four-month period than any other community in the state that has run a solar campaign. And those 175 solar systems will produce 1,000+ kW of pollution-free electric capacity. This is the same carbon reducing effect as planting 780,000 trees or taking 200 cars off the road for 30 years.

The town will also benefit as the program’s selected installer, Direct Energy Solar, has committed to installing a free solar system valued at $25,000 on a town school or municipal building due to selling 100 solar arrays in Belmont. If 200 solar systems are sold in Belmont by June 30, Direct Energy Solar will contribute towards an electric car and a charging station for the town.

The average cost of a rooftop solar system is about $15,000 but financial incentives significantly offset that cost. The Belmont Goes Solar negotiated discount pricing, combined with a thirty percent federal tax credit and a state rebate up to $1,000 reduces the cost significantly. 

Additionally, a solar system will create solar renewable energy certificates that can be sold to utilities to provide another revenue stream in ten years, reducing the cost further. In total, these financial incentives mean that the typical Belmont homeowner will recoup the cost of purchasing their solar system in just five to seven years. After that, they will have free electricity for the 25-year life of the system. If financing is needed, many homeowners tap a home equity line of credit; Direct Energy Solar and the state (through its Mass Solar Loan program) also offer low-interest loans.

With all the benefits for homeowners and the Belmont community, now is the time to consider solar. 

For a free, no-obligation solar evaluation of your Belmont home or business, call 800-903-6130 or visit

Here Come [More] Sun: Solar Installation Exceeds Year Goal in Three Months

Photo: The logo and challenge of Belmont Goes Solar.

For supporters of solar power in Belmont, the past six months has been heady times as the popularity of the alternative energy source has gone through the roof.

Or, more appropriately, going ONTO the roofs of Belmont homeowners.

Since the implementation of a solar power policy for homeowners and small commercial businesses on Sept. 30, 2015 and the efforts of a newly-established volunteers group, the number of homes that have and are in the process of installing solar arrays has increased fivefold, according to Roger Colton, the co-chair of the town’s Energy Committee, told the Light Board on Monday, March 14.

The Light Board, which oversees the town’s electrical utility, is made up of the Board of Selectmen.

Capitalizing on a 30 percent federal investment tax credit, a discount from installer Direct Energy Solar, the establishment of a stable tariff that provided solar companies “a level of financial certainty” and the efforts of the two-month-old Belmont Goes Solar campaign, the number of homes with solar panels has shot up from 25 on Oct. 1, to 125 qualified and ready for solar installation, already exceeding the goal of 100 homes for 2016 in just 10 weeks.

“Demand is going up, day after day,” said Colton, who heads the Belmont Goes Solar Initiative.

Producing a map of installations, Colton, said the homes with solar power panels is literally everywhere in Belmont, and, which Colton said in the parlance of young people, “that’s ‘very cool’.” 

The Goes Solar campaign is supported by Belmont Light, the Belmont Public Schools, the Board of Selectmen, Sustainable Belmont, and the local chapter of Mothers Out Front. 

“It shows that when the community works together, programs to improve the community work,” said Colton. 

Since it reached its goal of 100 households going solar, Direct Energy Solar is donating $25,000 to the town towards a solar system on a Belmont school or a municipal building.

Due to the rapid number of residents seeking to install solar arrays, the Light Board – with a nod of approval from the town’s electrical utility, Belmont Light, and the Temporary Net Metering Working Group that created Belmont’s solar policy – has lifted the 1,000 kW ceiling on capacity as Belmont residents have already exceeded the amount.

While supportive of suspending the cap, Roy Epstein, the working group’s chair, said he wanted a date specific in the fall when to revisit establishing a new limit.

Colton encourages Belmont residents to sign-up for a free solar evaluation of their home. More than 70 percent of the homes that have signed-up for an assessment thus far, he notes, “qualified” for the installation of solar panels. 

The next opportunity for residents to meet and talk personally with Belmont Goes Solar volunteers and Direct Energy Solar staff will be Saturday, April 2 from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at a “Meet the Installer” event at the Beech Street Center, 266 Beech St. The presentation will also address the particular circumstances of condo owners. 

Belmont homeowners can sign-up for a free solar assessment here