Find out about everything from purchasing renewable electricity through the City to installing solar panels for your home. You can also learn about renewable energy and energy efficiency options for your home on our Interactive Home with DIY Tips.

What is renewable energy?

Renewable energy comes from energy sources that renew themselves. The sun, wind, biomass and geothermal heat from the earth can all be used to generate electricity, keep your shower hot, and heat, cool and light your home in a way that is clean, safe, and sustainable.

What comes first, energy efficiency or renewable energy?

Consider pursuing energy efficiency first. Although a new hot water heater or extra insulation are not as glamorous as solar panels, they are more cost effective. In addition, should you then pursue renewable energy options, you won’t need as large a system. The combination of efficiency and renewables is a great way to save money over time and reduce your carbon emissions.

Purchase Renewable-Generated Electricity

If you are an Eversource customer, you can easily switch to renewable electricity through the City of Cambridge’s official Cambridge Community Electricity program. Learn about the pricing options here and call 1-888-589-7790 to switch.

You also have the option of choosing a competitive supplier. Learn more about competitive suppliers here.

Install Renewables for Your Home

The Mass Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) runs the renewable incentives programs including Commonwealth Solar Hot Water and Commonwealth Woodstove Change-Out. See the full list of programs and filter by programs for “residential.” Through these programs you can receive attractive incentives for installing renewables. Qualifying participants, for example, can receive up to 50% back on their solar hot water system purchase through various incentives offered by MassCEC’s Commonwealth Solar Hot Water program for residential and multi-family (1 to 4 unit) homes.

An experienced contractor can help you navigate the grant application and installation process. SEBANE and NESEA both offer directories of qualified solar installers, and NESEA’s “green pages” also include contractors for wind, geothermal and more.

Solar Installation Guides

Lease Solar for your Home

Not ready to buy solar panels? If your roof has good solar potential, many companies will lease your roof space to install solar panels. You lock in a reduced electricity rate, but you will need little or no up-front cash to buy the equipment. The company takes care of all maintenance. Consult the following to find a solar leasing company:

  • The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center maintains an excel sheet that includes a list of installers that have been awarded grants under one of MassCEC’s Commonwealth Solar programs. See the “Third Party Owner” column.
  • This blog provides a list
  • Use Google to Search keyword “Solar Leasing” or “Solar PPA” with your area code.

Invest in Renewables for Others

You can invest in bringing more renewable energy to New England by making a contribution at New England Wind Fund, which helps local groups with the cost of renewable energy installations.

Paying for a Renewable Energy Installation

In April of 2010 CEA sponsored an event dedicated to informing the public about financing solar energy installations, and the presentations of several organizations in the field are available.

Find out more about federal, state, and utility incentives through ENERGY STAR or DSIRE. Our residential financing page lists other programs and services which you may also be able to take advantage of.

Have questions?

Contact the Energy Advisor.