Financing A Clean Energy Future
"Under the Sun" Solar Blog | December 2, 2020 | Posted by Jill McLaughlin
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Jen and Ethan Gray are both schoolteachers and live with their children in Stoneham, MA. They had always wanted to use solar energy to reduce their carbon footprint, but for a long time they believed it was out of their price range. Luckily, after talking to some of their friends, they got in touch with ReVision Energy and began to investigate different financing options. They also decided to install air source heat pumps because they’re so much more efficient than the window unit air conditioners they had been using.
Mass Save has a zero-interest loan program (the HEAT Loan) for heat pumps of which they immediately took advantage. Jen says, “it’s worth making the payments because I just think of how much energy we’re saving by not having to use window air conditioning units.” In the first two years, they have primarily used the heat pumps for cooling, although they’re planning on using them as a heat source much more often this winter. “I also love that we have several different heads for the heat pumps in our rooms upstairs which has been convenient during the pandemic. It means if I’m working from home I don’t have to heat the whole house, but just my office,” Jen explains.
In 2018, after doing some research, they landed on Mosaic’s solar financing and decided to commit to rooftop solar. “It was a little daunting at first to think of making such a large purchase since we didn’t have the cash available to buy them outright,” Jen said, “but the monthly payments end up being much less than our electric bill used to be. The idea of renting solar panels forever doesn’t make sense when we can make these payments for 7 years and then really start saving!” The Grays took the money they got back from the Federal Tax Credit and made a big payment ($10,000) to re-amortize the loan to keep the monthly loan payments low. “I am not someone who would normally want to get a loan with a balloon payment or adjustable payments,” Jen said, “but we knew the tax refund would go to good use.”
Their Stoneham house has a good south-facing roof, perfect for their 28 solar panels. Jen has been pleasantly surprised by how much energy the array produces; it even produces extra clean energy which gets sent to the grid and banked as net-metering credits for future use.
“We definitely made enough solar to offset our electricity use over the course of the year. In the summer with our pool pump running, and cooling the house with the heat pumps every day — we still have a surplus. We get money back every month from the SMART Program. Even in January and February the surplus checks still come in, although we probably use a little more electricity than we make in those months.” She is interested to see what happens this year, with both Jen and her husband teaching from home, as well as two kids learning from home, but she expects there will still be plenty of clean solar energy produced.
While everyone’s finances and choice of financing plans are different, Jen and Ethan are thrilled with their decision to use Mosaic and Mass Save. “All the financing through Mosaic and Mass Save has been really easy. It just worked for our family because we wanted to make the investment but we didn’t have the cash available. Solar was a good financial decision with the bonus of being good for the environment.”
She’s also grateful to their ReVision Energy designer Malcolm, for discussing the various financing options with them from the start. “I definitely recommend Revision Energy to anyone who is interested in solar. The entire process has been very smooth, someone always gets back to me when I have a question, and I can’t imagine renting solar panels when you can own them outright.”