LETTER: Solarize Melrose a Success
The following is a Letter to the Editor submitted by Martha Grover, the city's green energy coordinator.
[Editor's note: The following is a Letter to the Editor submitted by Martha Grover, the city's green energy coordinator.]
Over the next year, Melrose will see 79 new solar PV installations thanks to everyone who supported and took part in the Solarize Melrose program launched in June. Solarize Melrose, which concluded on Nov. 4, was a renewable energy outreach program sponsored by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center that offered discounted pricing and rebates to homeowners with eligible roof space.
I would like to personally thank Lori Timmermann, who volunteered over 400 hours of her time over six months as the Melrose Solar Coach. Lori designed and implemented the marketing and outreach plan to educate Melrose homeowners about the benefits of going solar and served as the point person for all things Solarize. We were so very lucky to have her expertise and endless energy all summer.
Lori had some help on her team including intern Emma Arnold and Melrose Energy Commission (MEC) volunteers Andrew Schuyler, Jessie Schmitt, Howie Newman and Joyce Calaboro. MEC Co-Chairman Doug Dick contributed his time, office, and insight for the bid review and installer interviews last spring. Jackie Lavender-Bird created the Solarize Melrose website and Diane Bagley designed the marketing materials you saw all over town. Jim and Lisa Oosterman offered their house as the Solarize Showcase home for a fun block party.
We also had great support from business partners such as Coffee, Tea, and Me; Whittemore Hardware, and Shaw’s. Nonprofits such as Sally Frank’s Farmers Market, the Melrose Family YMCA, and the Farm Direct Coop also allowed us to table at their events. Cellar Fine Wines at Oak Grove Village sponsored a great wine-tasting event.
Several City departments supported our efforts, starting with Mayor Dolan and including Frank Oliveiri’s Recreation Department who permitted us to table at several community events over the summer; the Department of Public Works staff who hung our pesky banner across Main Street twice, the Milano Senior Center which hosted several Solar 101/201 evening workshops, the Assessor’s Office and finally, the Inspection Department who will oversee the permitting of the solar installations.
Our outreach partner in this endeavor, Next Step Living, was the right choice for Melrose as was Roof Diagnostic Solar, the selected installer. Next Step Living contacted almost 700 Melrose homeowners who expressed interest in solar and as an added benefit, provided home energy assessments to many whose homes were not solar eligible so they could take advantage of a variety of energy efficiency incentives. For more information, visit the Melrose Energy website.