Solar Power Electrifies The Belvedere Inn!

Posted by on Sep 16, 2013 in Belvedere Blog, Greening of The Belvedere Inn, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Solar Power Coming To The Belvedere Inn!

After much research and consideration, The Belvedere is going solar! This October, 30 American-made solar panels will be installed on the barn roof. The power generated will offset 65% of our yearly electric bill.

 

At the Belvedere, we are committed to using green technology and sustainable practices wherever possible. But when Matt and I initially thought of installing solar, it was a bit of a pipe dream. The “maybe if we win the lottery” type of idea.  After all, the biggest obstacle to many green practices, and especially green energy, are the upfront costs. Right? Well, not always, as we found out.

 

With help from some federal and state programs, installing solar will actually reduce expenses and add a long-term revenue stream to our business. To help other businesses and homeowners consider green solutions, we decided to share what we learned and how installing solar not only made green sense but financial sense too. Though much of this information is Massachusetts specific, we hope that people can see how these green energy programs could be worth promoting in their own states.

 

Our Cost/Benefit Analysis for Solar Energy

 

When calculating electricity savings alone, the average solar project may take 10 to 15 years to pay back the initial investment. But in our case, we will be able to use the following programs to help reduce the upfront costs so that our investment will payoff in less than half that time.

 

  • Federal and state incentives curb initial investment. There are several government rebates and tax credits that are offered immediately after installing solar panels. The biggest reduction of a solar project’s initial cost is the federal government’s 30% tax credit on renewable energy technologies. Additionally, purchasers can depreciate renewable investments over 5 years or on an accelerated calendar. Finally, Massachusetts also provides some smaller flat rate rebates, netting $2,000 in our case.
  • Massachusetts’ energy market provides a revenue stream. To encourage power companies to use greener energy solutions, Massachusetts mandated that power supplies generate at least 5% of their total output via green technologies. If power companies fail to meet the minimum production, they must buy energy credits (aka SRECs) from green suppliers via an open market. The state is so dedicated to this market, that any new solar installers are guaranteed a minimum of $200 per kilowatt-hour they produce for ten years.
  • Energy savings. The solar project we’re installing has an estimated energy production of 6.6-kilowatt hours, or roughly 65% of our yearly consumption.

 

Based on the combination of all of the programs above, we estimate that we will pay for our initial investment somewhere between four to six years. Since panels have a production guaranty/warranty for 25 years, there are at least 19 years of electricity savings – and possible revenue as long as the Massachusetts SREC program continues. So, for the Belvedere Inn, going solar makes financial sense.

 

Solar Options In Your Area

 

I highly encourage anyone who lives in Massachusetts, and is interested in solar panels, to contact our installer, United Solar. We have found them knowledgeable, responsive, and easy to work with. You can also reference the website MassSolarInfo for a list of other recommended installers.

 

If you don’t live in Massachusetts but are interested in what incentives are available in your area, checkout The Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIR). There you will find specifics on federal and state tax credits, loans, and rebates in your area.

 

We Hope To See You Soon!

 

During your next stay, if you are interested, we would love to show off our newest green initiative. Or, just enjoy yourself and know that we are doing everything to make your stay fun, relaxing, and green.

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