Seven Massachusetts Towns Make the “Naughty List” for Solar

While converting a home to solar energy should be painless, several towns have measures in place that unfortunately hold up the process.

December 9, 2011—Santa’s sleigh may be powered by an “all natural” source, but until homeowners can harness the energy generated by flying reindeer, solar power remains one of the best ways to green the home. Unfortunately, several Massachusetts municipalities are on the “naughty list” for the hoops they make potential solar households jump through. And while Santa hasn’t expressed an opinion either way on the situation, Sunlight Solar Energy in Waltham is proactively assessing the towns of Georgetown, Norwood, Belmont, Wellesley, Needham, Peabody, and Somerville with the naughty rating.

The Seven Naughtiest Towns in Massachusetts for Solar Energy



Georgetown Doesn’t allow net metering
Norwood Doesn’t allow net metering
Belmont No Commonwealth Solar II Rebate
Wellesley No Commonwealth Solar II Rebate
Somerville Extra $1000 engineering fees
Peabody Doesn’t allow net metering

The towns of Georgetown, Norwood, and Peabody do not allow net metering, the process of sending unused electricity generated by solar panels back to the grid in exchange for credits that would allow homeowners to use the same amount of energy later on without needing to pay; typically, a home solar system generates these credits during the daytime, when occupants are out of the house and power usage goes down. (Under federal law, a public electric utility must allow net metering if a customer requests it.)

In the towns of Needham and Somerville, homeowners looking to go green with solar panels can expect to encounter up to an extra $1000 in engineering fees.

Energy customers in Belmont and Wellesley, meanwhile, are unable to take advantage of the state’s Commonwealth Solar II Rebate program, which earns homeowners a tax rebate that is calculated based on the size and makeup of a solar system when the installation is under 10 kilowatts. A similar rebate is available for solar heating (hot water) systems.

Problems in store for homeowners looking to go solar are not limited to these seven towns. Chris Robinson, Sunlight Solar Energy’s Project Coordinator, sums up the situation by saying that solar is “one of the few industries that has federal and state-level support, but on the municipal level we’re constantly struggling with the way towns operate, which differs from town to town. If things were made more uniform, it would increase the ease of going solar tremendously.”

About Sunlight Solar Energy
Sunlight Solar Energy ( 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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