SolarCity is providing solar electricity directly to the town of East Bridgewater in a move that will significantly cut energy costs for the town. SolarCity has provided the town with more than 10,000 solar panels, and the town pays SolarCity for the electricity the panels produce at a discount to its local utility rates. At 2.45 megawatts of generation capacity, East Bridgewater’s project is among the largest solar installations in Massachusetts. The solar panels are expected to produce more than 3 million kilowatt hours of electricity each year—enough power to supply about 350 homes. The town is expected to save as much as $2 million on energy costs over 25 years.
Electricity generated by the solar field will be sent to National Grid, and result in net metering credits, which will be used to reduce the town’s electricity bills. Over the 25-year lifetime of the contract, it is estimated to save the town up to $2 million in energy costs. SolarCity, with Massachusetts operations based in Marlborough, makes it possible for homeowners, businesses, nonprofits and municipalities to have their solar installed for free and pay less for solar electricity than they pay for utility bills.
The Green Communities Act of 2008 stimulates renewable energy development in the Commonwealth. A centerpiece of the Act was the establishment of “Net Metering” – a special metering and billing agreement between utility companies and their customers, which facilitates the connection of renewable energy generating facilities to the power grid.
This innovative deal ensures that no town money is spent on the development, construction or maintenance of the solar facility, and that, as the host customer for the facility, the Town will pay less for its power under the agreement.