Getting ready: EcoHOMES: Let’s switch our electricity supply to solar
Great news! We have a unique opportunity: for the first time ever, all York residents (and folks all over Maine), whether we own or rent, live in a condo or single-family home, whether our roof is sunny or shaded, can access solar power to provide 100% of the electricity we use in our homes.
This opportunity to change our power source is the first action by EcoHOMES (an initiative of York Ready for 100%). Each month EcoHOMES asks York residents to consider taking an action to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by our everyday use of electricity.
Thanks to Governor Mills and the Maine legislature, we now have three options to change the source of our electricity:
Option 1: Community-solar subscription: no investment; no startup costs. Save 10% to 15% on monthly supply cost.
Option 2: Residents seeking longer-term investment and greater savings can purchase shares of community-solar farms: average investment of $15,000 to $30,000, 26% tax credit, financed over 20 years; save up to 50% on electricity supply cost over 25 years.
Option 3: For long-term investment: rooftop or ground-based solar: Average investment of $15,000 to $30,000 before 26% tax credit. Save up to 50% on monthly electricity cost over 25 years.
Options 1 and 2 do not require rooftop or ground installations. Power comes from community-solar farms located around Maine and other New England states. These choices may be ideal for residents without a suitable rooftop or the resources to purchase solar panels.
We have a significant opportunity. With readily available solar power we can reduce substantially our dependence on fossil fuels and the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by our homes each year. There will be reductions in the cost of our electricity and in the greenhouse gases emitted by our homes. CMP will still deliver our electricity, but the source will be solar, and they will deliver when the sun doesn’t shine.
The Town of York has set a goal of 50% reduction of emissions from residential buildings by 2030. Since emissions from our homes are 39% of York’s overall emissions, it’s evident that we need to take whatever actions we can to reduce electricity use at home and change the source of that power.
When we subscribe to a community-solar farm we are assigned enough solar panels to cover our annual electricity usage (based on prior years). Every month, CMP will credit our bill for the amount of electricity our panels generated. The solar farm then bills us for 85% to 90% of the credited amount, saving us 10% to 15%. Some farms offer an additional discount, saving us even more.
With any solar option, we can reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and lower the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by our homes. If our monthly electric bill now comes from CMP, we are eligible to switch to community-solar.
With this first EcoHOMES action, York Ready for 100% is asking residents to review the information in this article, learn more on the EcoHOMES website (yorkreadyfor100.org/ecohomes/community-solar), and consider the benefits of switching to solar power (we can’t find a down side). We can all participate in this community effort, and we can also get updates and the latest news on upcoming projects by signing on to be an EcoHOME.
How do we sign up for solar power?
York Ready for 100% has identified and spoken with subscription community- solar farm and shared-ownership companies that are currently accepting York residents. Our website includes tables, contacts and links for community-solar as well as ground-mounted and rooftop solar. The company will manage the switch.
We have an unprecedented opportunity to take a “powerful” action that will reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and lower our costs of electricity. Thousands of Maine residents now use power generated by solar. We can do this, too, at a level that suits us, and be an example to other southern Maine communities. There is no down side to making this switch.
Registrants for EcoHOMES will receive early notice by email of each month’s climate action and find additional information on our Website. We can all consider the best climate actions for our family and home.
There is power in our example, and grace in working together for the common good. We invite the community to join us in this action.