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Mendon’s Solarize Program a Big Success

More than 20 Mendon residents and businesses took advantage of the Solarize Mass program which offered participants discounts to install solar electricity systems in their homes or company. In total, 22 systems were installed in the community resulting in an expected generation of 171 kilowatts of energy.

As a result, those Mendon partakers will now receive a Tier 4 discount on the solar systems they purchased. The more participants a community signs up, the bigger the discount they receive. "We're the smallest town taking part and we got to a 4," said Mendon Solar Coach Carolyn Barthel of the discount level. "Not every town reached a Tier 4. It's quite wonderful." The deadline to participate in the program has now passed.

The majority of participants in Mendon were homeowners. However, Southwick's Zoo also decided to take advantage of program and will be adding solar panels to its gift shop. "We're thrilled to take part in the Solarize Massachusetts program," said Southwick's Zoo Curator of Conservation and Education, Betsey Brewer. "Having the solar panels in such a visible location will help us fulfill our mission of conservation, research, and education." The zoo hopes to have the solar panels in place by spring when it officially reopens for the season.

"The Southwick's Zoo project is one example of the way solar energy can be adopted across the Commonwealth," said Matt Arner, President of SolarFlair, the Framingham-based company that will eventually install the system.

Barthel said the Solarize Mass program has given townspeople a real education on the benefits of solar power. "It has really helped to bring solar energy to the forefront," she said. "It's been very encouraging to see." According to Barthel, the benefits of solar panels are twofold; they cut down substantially on electrical costs as well help the environment.

In the spring, Mendon was named one of 17 Massachusetts communities to take part in the 2012 Solarize Massachusetts program, in partnership with the Mass Clean Energy Center and the Department of Energy. Only those communities designated at "Green" received the opportunity to participate. Mendon received its Green Communities status last year.

Some of the local communities that participated in the Solarize Mass program included Millbury/Sutton which had 22 sign up and Hopkinton, which had 56. Arlington was the community with the most contracts signed for the largest capacity with 157 residents and businesses taking part.


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