Boston will shortly be introducing a program aimed at offering residents more affordable electricity from renewable sources. Last year, the mayor of Boston pledged that the city, already one of the most energy efficient in the country, will be carbon neutral by 2050. In a state with higher than average electricity rates, this plan will not only help the city to meet this ambitious target but will also offer welcome savings to its residents. As well as participating in programs like this, homeowners can take steps to make a change to greener energy sources themselves. For owners of older properties to house buyers looking to gain equity with a condo fixer-upper, solar panels are straightforward to install, simple to maintain and could significantly reduce energy bills.
At least 20% of Boston’s carbon emissions come from smaller buildings including residential properties. Most older homes in Boston are still heated by gas or oil and they could benefit financially and ecologically from installing sources of renewable energy. The areas of flat roofing on many three-deckers are ideal for the installation of solar panels. However, where placing panels on the roof is impractical, solar panels using SunPower technology can also be installed on ground mounts or even on carports. This flexibility makes it easy for residents in any type of property to make their own electricity from solar energy.
Professionally installed solar panels like these will be serviced and monitored for the lifetime of the units. Solar panels are designed to be durable and can last up for up to 30 years, but a warranty or adequate homeowners insurance will give extra peace of mind in case of accidental damage. Otherwise, the only maintenance required is to clean the panels two or three times a year. Rinsing them with a garden hose and removing debris with a leaf blower will ensure that the panels keep working at their best, providing cheap and green energy for years to come.
Once solar panels are installed, residents can then start to enjoy the benefit of reduced electricity bills. The Energy Information Administration has reported electricity costs in Massachusetts of more than 60% the national average, so any way for Boston residents to lower their bills is welcome. Of course, an initial investment is required for solar panel installation, however, throughout 2021, the Federal Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit of up to 22% of qualifying costs will still be available. This together with other loans, rebates and credits for extra energy generated makes installing solar panels a more affordable and practical choice for Boston homeowners.
The increasing use of energy from renewable sources such as solar panels will help Boston to meet its ambitious target of becoming carbon neutral by 2050. Used in collective programs and by individual homeowners, solar panels are easy to install and maintain, and they can offer lower energy bills for residents throughout the city.