Solar electricity is now cheaper in Newton than the standard fossil fuel-based electricity from NSTAR or National Grid. Two firms, the Clean Energy Collective, and Next Step Living, offer similar deals, locking in a 5% lower rate than the utilities for 20 years, with no up front costs*.
For households like ours, where we’re too shaded to put solar panels on our roof as part of the Newton Solar Challenge, going solar via this Community Solar option is not an act of environmental altruism anymore – its just plain cheaper. This is a remarkable threshold to have passed and should be a tipping point that triggers widespread adoption, in Newton and beyond.
If you’re wondering about that 20 year commitment, so are we, and are still waiting to read the fine print before pulling the trigger. What if a better deal comes around a couple years from now? But mitigating that concern is the thought that if the price of solar keeps dropping as precipitously as it has, and solar panel efficiency keeps climbing, even less-than-perfect rooftops like ours could go solar and minimize the need for grid electricity altogether.
*Next Step Living requires a $300 refundable deposit which gets applied to the first of your new solar electricity bills.