Find out about everything from purchasing wind energy through NSTAR to installing solar panels for your home. You can also learn 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 NSTAR customer, you have the option of purchasing half or all your electricity from wind power through NSTAR Green or a competitive supplier.

Install Renewables for Your Home

The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) runs the renewable incentives programs including Commonwealth Solar and Commonwealth Wind, which were formerly hosted by the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. Through these programs you can receive up to $8,500 for a photovoltaic system or up to $40,000 for a micro-wind installation. MassCEC also launched the Commonwealth Solar Hot Water program for residential and multi-family (1 to 4 unit) homes. Qualifying participants can receive up to 50% back on their solar hot water system purchase through various incentives.

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:

  • List of installers that have been awarded 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, or New Generation Energy. Both organizations help 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.