Solar Access




Solar Access is a new Massachusetts program for middle-income homeowners.The non-profit Center for EcoTechnology (CET), is offering affordable, renewable energy for your community. Solar Access is funded by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) and the Department of Energy Resources (DOER). Working with an energy expert, you will be guided through the program, which adds a special Solar Access incentive to the existing combination of electric utility, state, and federal incentives for renewable energy. By enrolling in a UMassFive College Credit Union loan, you will own your solar panels and a heat pump and will pay less than you spend now.

To see if you qualify go to the following link and fill out the survey: Or call the Center for Eco Technology at  413-341-0418

Customer Benefits:

  • Step-by-step guidance
  • 10 + year equipment and labor warranties
  • One easy monthly payment
  • Increased value of your home

Financial Incentives:

  • 30% Federal solar tax credit
  • 10% Massachusetts solar tax credit
  • MassCEC heat pump rebate
  • Low Interest Mass Solar Loan with a 30% principal reduction of up to $10,500
  • Solar SMART incentive
  • Mass Save heat pump rebate
  • No interest HEAT Loan
  • First 6 months of loan payments made for you by Solar Access


Additional Information:

  • Have to be the homeowner in order to apply
  • Multi-units of up to 4-family units are accepted
  • The aim of this program is too set up the loan payments for your solar instillation and electric bill to be equal to, or less than, what you are currently  paying for your monthly heating and electric bill.

For additional questions, please visit CET’s website and hotline.


Letter to Editor: There’s money on the table

Berkshire Edge Letter to the Editor, May 28, 2018
by Uli Nagel, project manager for Living the Change Berkshires, ener-G-save, of the Greener Gateway Committee

How many Berkshire residents realize that every month, through their electric bill, they contribute to a utility fund for energy efficiency? It’s a few dollars per household that add up to major amounts that the utilities are obliged to spend on supporting energy efficiency measures (yes, they get paid to do this).  There is also a state program, more on that below.

Berkshire residents and towns can benefit substantially from these programs and should, given our region’s economic challenges. Strangely, we don’t fully do that yet.

First, homeowners can receive free energy assessments including perks like LED light bulbs and power strips. Even if you had an assessment before, you can have one every two years and make the improvements you were not able to do last time.

At least 75 percent of the cost of insulation you need for your home will be paid for by the utilities. This is for everyone and without a cap. If your income is low, it’s 100 percent and you can replace inefficient appliances with better ones for free. There really is no reason not to start the process, which can take some persistence. If you need help, you can contact the non-profit ener-G-save: for assistance. With the recent ups and downs in temperature outside, our house stays much more comfortable due to wall insulation, and our heating bills are lower.

Now to the state program: more and more of our towns are becoming so-called Green Communities. They receive grants to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars. From Clarksburg and North Adams in the north to Egremont and Great Barrington in the south, towns are taking up the offer to improve boilers, insulation, windows or other infrastructure to save taxpayers’ money.

For example, Becket received $140,000 for assessing the energy efficiency of two municipal buildings and improving insulation and air conditioning.

The conditions for receiving these grants are not that hard to meet and the benefits for towns’ coffers, our health, and the environment are substantial.

Residents should check with their select boards or mayors about taking advantage of this program and thank them if they already are. It is amazing that this opportunity exists. Let’s make use of it to the fullest extent possible for the sake of all of us in the Berkshires.

Uli Nagel — Lee, MA

The author is project manager for Living the Change Berkshires, ener-G-save, of the Greener Gateway Committee.

» Berkshire Edge site

Reprinted with permission of the author.

Report Reveals New England Does Not Need New Gas Pipelines

Joint report debunks ISO claims about shaky fuel security during cold snaps

by Jake O’Neill, Conservation Law Foundation
May 3, 2018

(BOSTON, MA) – Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) has released a joint report, Understanding ISO New England’s Operational Fuel Security Analysis, which disproves several key claims made in a recently issued ISO analysis. Undertaken by Synapse Energy Economics on behalf of CLF and partner organizations, the report demonstrates that New England is already on track to ensure a reliable electric power system during even the coldest winters. According to a revised and corrected analysis by the ISO at the request of stakeholders, and contrary to its initial findings just a few months ago, there is virtually zero risk of rolling blackouts in the winter as long as the New England states continue to successfully invest in clean and renewable energy and energy efficiency on the pace required by existing state laws.

“Even in extreme winters far colder than this year’s, New Englanders don’t need to worry about ISO’s ability to keep the lights on as we transition away from fossil fuel electricity,” said David Ismay, Senior Staff Attorney at CLF. “ISO’s initial predictions unnecessarily sounded the alarm based on flawed assumptions and unrealistic scenarios that ignore what the states are already doing to increase system reliability. But ISO’s revised analysis using corrected data proves that the reliability of our energy system will only improve as we continue our move away from harmful fossil fuels like gas and add more clean energy like solar and wind to the grid.”

The report was completed by Synapse on behalf of CLF, Acadia Center, NH Office of the Consumer Advocate, PowerOptions, RENEW Northeast, and Vermont Energy Investment Corp.

» You can read a copy of the report here

What’s Wrong With Gov. Baker’s Climate Bill

WGBH Commentary by Sen. Marc Pacheco
March 26, 2018

On the morning of [Governor Baker’s] bond bill’s public release, I was finally able to read and analyze the administration’s language. What I found was a watered-down version of the Senate’s bill for a comprehensive climate adaptation management plan. This legislation is being misconstrued as a comprehensive piece of climate adaptation management planning when it is only one step of many. A climate adaptation management plan, even in its best form, is only our foundation.

… this bond bill involves the administration’s language on energy resources. As it stands now, the bill’s new “clean peak standard” would allow the administration to define natural gas or dirty fuel as a “clean peak energy resource.” This is an alarming development, one that flies in the face of true proaction, protection and transparency. Fossil fuels are what got us into this mess in the first place, and we should not use them as a pillar of our climate strategy. If we leave this language on the table, it is a clear win for the fossil fuel industry.

» Read the full story



EIA: Gas generation dropped 7.7% in 2017 while coal declined 2.5%

by Robert Walton, Utility Dive
March 20, 2018

Dive Brief:

• Changes to the United States’ power generation mix last year reflected fuel price fluctuations and the growth of renewable energy, though overall demand fell. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, total U.S. net generation fell by 1.5% in 2017, compared with the year before.

• Natural gas generation fell most steeply by 105,443 Gwh, or 7.7%, and coal generation declined 31,248 GWh, or 2.5%. More than 11 GW of capacity retired last year, with most of that being coal.

• Both wind and utility-scale solar cracked new records, according to EIA’s Electric Power Monthly.  Wind accounted for 6.3% of total net generation, and utility-scale solar made up 1.3%.

» Read full story

Legislative Updates – March 2018

from Mass Power Forward

Months into 2018, urgency on climate change hasn’t dulled. In fact, with storms, blizzards, floods and power outages, the need for action is becoming ever-more visible. Fortunately, the legislature and governor are considering major action on climate and the environment. In the menatime, we need advocates to keep calling, calling, calling until the legislature acts!

» Read Mass Power Forward’s quick status report on Mass Power Forward priorities