Vitaliy Kholyavenko has wanted to utilize solar energy since he bought his house in Newton 15 years ago. A big proponent of energy conservation, he was excited that his house met the criteria for effectively harnessing solar energy: his roof faces south and receives a significant amount of sunlight. Despite his interest, solar energy did not make economic sense at the time, due to high installation prices and low efficiency of solar panels.
When Vitaliy decided to look back into solar energy in 2010, he found that the combination of affordable, efficient solar panels and state and federal incentives made solar energy a viable energy solution for himself and his family. Incentives such as the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) Commonwealth Solar rebate program, a 30 percent Federal tax credit, and a 15 percent State tax credit reduced his upfront cost by half. Vitaliy’s 3.88 kW solar electric system is expected to pay itself off within 5 years, according to Sunlight Solar Energy, a local Newton-based solar installation company who designed and installed the system.
Vitaliy Kholyavenko’s story reflects major developments in the solar energy industry in 2010, marked by declining solar panel prices, rising utility rates, increased public awareness, and growing federal and state support for renewable energy projects. Due in large part to the MassCEC Commonwealth Solar rebate program, the number of megawatts (MW) of solar power installed in Massachusetts has increased from 3.55 MW in 2007 to 77 MW installed or in process by the end of 2010. Additionally, the introduction of the Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC) program in 2010 has allowed homeowners with solar electric systems to receive tradable green energy certificates and sell them to utility companies for a floor price of $285 per certificate. Based upon the size of Vitaliy’s system, he is expected to receive a minimum of $1140 per year from SREC income for the next five years.
With energy efficiency and rising energy costs on the forefront of national and local dialogue, renewable energy is reaching a new level of interest and feasibility in Massachusetts. “Homeowners are beginning to investigate solar energy from an economic perspective,” says Samantha Greenberg, Project Coordinator for Sunlight Solar Energy. “Everyone tells us they want to save money and do something positive for the environment. In this case, it’s a win-win.”
Vitaliy, who owns a Prius and has made numerous energy efficient upgrades in his home, has become an advocate of the economic viability and environmental benefits of solar energy. “Everyone should take whatever steps possible to conserve energy,” he says. “The summary effect would be surprisingly huge.”
About Sunlight Solar Energy, Inc.
Sunlight Solar Energy (www.sunlightsolar.com <http://www.sunlightsolar.com> ) is a certified grid-tied solar electric installation contractor committed to providing the highest quality grid-tied solar electric installations for homes and businesses. Sunlight Solar Energy, Inc is a licensed and insured Solar Installer and has installed over 400 solar arrays throughout New England. Sunlight Solar is a Premier Dealer of SunPower solar modules and inverters.
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