Newton, Mass., Mayor Setti Warren has announced the start of the city’s Community Solar Share Initiative, a pilot project designed to share the benefits of solar power with low-income Newton residents.
According to a press release, over 1,000 low-income households will save on their energy bills by receiving a free share of the credits generated by the city’s solar carport project, which is under construction at 70 Elliot St. Expected to generate about 660,000 kWh/year, the solar project will also reduce the city’s carbon footprint by increasing the amount of clean, renewable energy in the community.
In announcing the program, Warren said, “Eleven percent of Newton school children are living below the poverty line. One in eight Newton households are trying to live on less than $25,000 per year. We need to do what we can to level the playing field. Solar power is a great deal for those that can afford it. Newton has found a creative way to share the benefits of solar energy, providing low-income residents with modest, yet measurable, savings on their energy bills. And we are reducing carbon emissions and helping the environment in the process.”
The mayor praised utility company Eversource and Action for Boston Community Development, a regional anti-poverty service agency, for working closely with Newton to bring this pilot project from conception to fruition. Any Newton resident or household that is already receiving the electric discount rate from Eversource is automatically eligible for a free share of the net-metering credits.
To preserve the privacy of the recipients, ABCD will mail a letter from the mayor to all eligible residents, who can decide to participate or opt out of the program. By participating, residents agree to allow ABCD to share their electric account numbers with Newton.
John J. Drew, president and CEO of ABCD, said, “This is truly a landmark program to help those who are in the greatest need. I’d like to thank Mayor Setti Warren, the fine people at Eversource, our Energy and Fuel Assistance department and everyone else who worked so hard to make this happen. We believe this creative pilot project will turn out to be a win for everyone involved.”
“This pilot is a perfect example of how creative thinking and collaboration between public and private entities can reap innovative results,” said Marc Lucas, community relations representative at Eversource. “We are excited to partner with the city of Newton and ABCD on this important initiative that will help our customers as well as the environment.”