National Grid’s Solar Energy Phase II Plan: Not Best Option for Towns and School

1 Posts
Jun 16, 2009 01:41 pm
National Grid’s Solar Energy Phase II Plan: Not Best Option for Towns and School

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Sustainable Energy need to be carefully considered from a cost and ownership perspective for towns and schools before diving into what seems the easy out: National Grid's GreenUp program costs consumers significantly more per billing period.

Far too many boards of selectmen, planning and building boards are not equipped to make long term solar and wind energy decisions for their communities today. They could easily be taken in by what National Grid is proposing in its phase II solar proposal.

Saving money, reducing CO2 pollution, creating a greener community, and preparing for the future all sound good and are admiral goals. But National Grid is looking out for themselves and not its consumers. The Obama administration plans to initiate capand trade which increases dramatically the price of generating coal and natural gas electricity, which Obama considers the dirty fuels. National Grid generates almost 100% of its electricity today from coal in MAwith the exception of some nuclear generation. National Grid will be hit hard by this cap and trade tariff- and they will be and are passing that cost along to us all. National Grid has already announced rate hikes in 2010.

National Grid charges considerable more for those who choose green energy power today. Take a look at your bill to verify.  Some report as much as 12% more.


In National Grids Phase II plan they will be evaluating town, state and federal sites to install some 40 MW of solar panels owned by them, via a lease arrangement. You are guaranteed that National Grid will get the better part of that deal- they get a place to install their solar panels and sell it back to you as the consumer at an inflated rate as they will tell you it is green power and it cost those more to generate. They will have made the initial capital investment but it is guaranteed price hikes will be drastic year after year.


Green energy is a priority for a number municipalities and schools for a number   of reasons. National Grid estimates that its distribution costs will rise 12% in 2010. Right now National Grid charges you more to buy Green energy from them, making it a very profitable business for National Grid and NSTAR in MA, why not have the towns and schools take advantage of federal and stimulus money to own their own solar and wind turbine installations. 

Actions to be taken:
So why not take the initiative and take advantage of Green Communities Act and Commonwealth Solar to possibly get your entire projected funded and own the solar panels and or Wind turbine. It is urgent that you get started and wise to find someone with the expertise to guide you through the maze of deadlines, grants, and someone who is knowledgeable about green technologies and the best vendors and installers.

 It is far better to use the Green Communities Act to install your own energy and utilize it completely for town and school options and sell the excess back to the smart grid-being put in place and receive renewable energy credits from the utilities. This smart grid will allow users to schedule when they want to use electricity at off hours when the rates are cheaper and when in the case of solar or wind power you have excess capacity. These new meters will allow you to closely monitor your consumption.

We can not emphasize that you need to act fast and nimbly, as the Clean Energy Choice Program will end June 30, 2009. That program gave $3.8M to MA communities over its life and sadly maybe your community did not act so received no funding- a lost opportunity.

In Massachusetts (with National Grid) our electricity prices are rising fast. We rank fourth in the country for overall electricity prices- a cost that burdens residents (the elderly in particular) and drives out local businesses.

Who is participating in the Green Communities Act?
To name a few towns: Worcester, Framingham, Marlborough, Westwood, Falmouth, Milford, Hyannis, Sutton, Buzzards Bay, and the MA Maritime Academy

1.      The William F.Stanley- Elementary School-Waltham, MA

2.      Yarmouth Town Hall – solar  Photovoltaic Cells (PVCs)

3.       WestWood Fire Department –(PVCs)

4.      Chilton , MA- Wind Turbine

Solar electricity pricing is getting cheaper:

Key Points to derives from this:
Your solar electricity cost is far less expensive from your own installations and is less expensive than standard grid power in MA, New York, San Diego, San Francisco, Las Vegas, and Phoenix.

Solar is an area where costs are improving fast. Availability of crystalline silicon the material used in most solar panels is coming down in price quickly, thanks in part to rising production capacity. In addition solar panel factories are now far   more cost efficient and several manufacturers like Evergreen Solar are manufactured right here in Marlborough, MA. Yet, wind is still the cheaper alternative. Don’t believe the old saw you don’t have enough wind to run a Wind Turbine. Take a look at the 900 MW wind turbine at the Holy Name School in Worcester.

One of the principal energy planners, at an energy consultancy firm told us to many people pay someone to tell them there is insufficient wind and they do little more than look at a wind map or take a wind measurement from the ground, wind measurement must be taken at 200-300 meters off the ground to get adequate wind measurements with a tool called an anemometer over a period of time. Wind varies widely by month with June being the least windy month, and wind varies by wind sheer created by trees and buildings.  The local firm tell us that with new designs in low wind turbine technology many places once thought to have inadequate wind can now provide sufficient output and at more a reasonable cost than solar.


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