ANDOVER — Solar projects are expected to explode in a big way in Andover next year with the announcement that the town has been named one of 15 new Solarize Massachusetts communities.
The designation, announced this month by Rick Sullivan, the state secretary of energy and environmental affairs, opens up residents and businesses to participation in a discount solar installation program.
Anil Navkal, who lives on Rock’O’Dundee Road, attended the Dec. 2 ceremony in Amherst on behalf of Andover to hear the good news.
“This gives the town a unique opportunity for residents to participate in harvesting solar energy in an affordable package,” said Navkal, who may now adopt the official moniker of Solar Coach. “The Solarize Andover team is committed to bringing this message to the entire community — both business owners and residents.”
Under the program, the more people who participate, the bigger the discount. Discounts for potentially costly solar installations, which usually run in the tens of thousands of dollars, will range from a low of 5 percent to a high of 25 percent. Combined with federal and state incentives along with energy credits, the cost of installations will be reduced significantly, decreasing the number of years it takes to pay off a rooftop or ground-based system of solar panels.
Ever the optimist, Navkal believes — and even has it on his new business cards — that the Solarize Andover Committee will sign up 100 new customers in 100 days thanks to the program.
“You only need 40 to get the full discount,” he said. “We will definitely get that discount. I think it’s possible we’ll get 200 installations. I’m very optimistic.”
Once Andover was designated a Solarize Massachusetts community, Navkal and his committee, which has been working with the Green Advisory Board, began accepting applications from potential solar installation companies. The deadline to apply was Dec. 12.