June 16, 2017
SunBug Solar is pleased to announce the completion of Somerville’s first community solar system, located in downtown Davis Square. The solar system was a collaboration between SunBug Solar and Potluck Energy, PBC., a certified Benefit Corporation founded in Massachusetts. The 22.1kW system features 65 LG 340 watt panels, and utilizes the non-roof-penetrating EcoFoot racking system.
The system is expected to begin providing electricity to customers starting in June, and an outdoor launch party is planned for June 17th to be hosted at the site of the solar system with the participation of Somerville’s local government officials. The Climate Action Business Association, Inc. (CABA), a key partner in the development of the project, will be co-sponsoring the launch event.
The community solar system will allow residents of Somerville, Cambridge and nearby towns to receive solar-generated electricity at a discount, via virtual net metering. Virtual net metering allows customers within the NEMA Eversource load-zone, roughly centered around Newton and including Somerville, Cambridge and Boston, to be assigned net metering credits produced at the solar array in Somerville.
Potluck Energy will oversee the distribution of the solar electricity to community members, and will manage the allocation of the membership shares going-forward. “This is a great opportunity to bring the benefits of solar to renters and homeowners who cannot put solar on their own roofs, while helping them save on their utility bill. We are excited to be able to bring this solution for the first time to the city of Somerville. This community solar system will be the first to be fully flexible in the Greater Boston area, allowing members to join and leave the community project without any penalty for moving to a different electricity provider,” says Michele Lunati, President of Potluck Energy.
SunBug Solar supports local efforts to convert electricity production to non fossil fuel consuming methods like photovoltaic solar. The SunBug project lead for the array, Jamie Leef, notes that "This project is a great fit with SunBug’s mission. It is crucial to offer clean power in a direct ownership model to people who do not have a good roof for solar, or who do not own a house. Community solar like this opens the door to clean power for everyone in the community."
The system is located at 402 Highland Avenue in Somerville, a commercial building owned by Dave Lewis, Antonia Shelzi and Julian Lewis of Avid Management. “The project is a milestone for Somerville and the Greater Boston's solar community,” said Mr. Lewis, President of Avid Management.
While the system is already fully subscribed, interested customers can sign-up at no cost or obligation on Potluck Energy’s website to be placed on a waiting for participation in future systems. Potluck customers commit for a minimum period of 6 months and on average receive a discount of 10% over prevailing electricity rates, without penalties for switching to a different provider at a later date.
Quinton Zondervan, Potluck’s Benefit Director and the President of Green Cambridge, Inc., played a key role in the project and assisted Potluck in signing up initial customers. “We’ve been working for over five years to bring community solar to Cambridge and nearby communities,” said Mr. Zondervan. “We are very excited to see the first system go up in Somerville. We look forward to supporting the continued growth of community solar to provide greater access to the benefits of solar to members of our communities.”
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