Newton solar array will help low-income residents save money

As reported by Jonathan Dame, Wicked Local Newton:

Electricity generated at one of the city’s solar arrays will help low-income Newton residents save on their energy bills through a first-of-its-kind program unveiled Wednesday, officials said.

Around 1,250 low-income households will be eligible for a discount on their energy bills starting in 2017, thanks to a solar array planned at the Elliot Street DPW yard.

The city will divert some of its energy savings from that site to low-income residents. It’s a model for community-shared solar that’s new to Massachusetts – and likely the entire country, officials, activists and utility representatives said.

“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,” Mayor Setti Warren said in a statement. “And we are reducing carbon emissions and helping the environment in the process.”

The low-income residents who participate in the program will save around $40 to $60 per year on their energy bills, estimated Andy Savitz, the city’s sustainability director.

Newton is partnering with the nonprofit Action for Boston Community Development Inc., or ABCD, to confidentially identify eligible households. ABCD well send letters to those residents, who will have an opt-out option, by the end of October.

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