[personal profile] ams16
Does anyone know of any projects to create municipal broadband in Eastern Massachusetts? Considering the possibility of the death of net-neutrality, I was just wondering if there are any efforts in that direction.

(Yes, I know the Senate managed to vote to save net-neutrality. I doubt it will get by the House.)
mem_winterhill: (Default)
[personal profile] mem_winterhill
I wrote up my experience with the HeatSmart/CoolSmart city program for these heat pump systems. It has been extended to Feb 15, so if your heating system is creaking at this point, might be worth a look.


Happy to answer any questions.

mem_winterhill: (Default)
[personal profile] mem_winterhill
Hello neighbors--
I have some terrific news. In fact, it's probably my favorite thing that happened this year. A local non-profit has been selected to get the 5kW array that was a result of our success with Solarize Somerville. It has just been announced today:
"Local non-profit CASPAR, Inc. (Cambridge and Somerville Program for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Rehabilitation) will soon expand its tremendously positive impact on the community. The organization was selected to receive a 5kW solar array donation that, once in place, will reduce greenhouse gas emissions – and lower utility bills. The 5kW array donation from SolarFlair, the City’s installation partner, is the result of resident participants exceeding the goal of the citywide Solarize Somerville initiative to install 400 kW of installed solar capacity. So far, SolarFlair has installed 99 solar arrays, adding 531.34 kW of installed solar capacity to Somerville."
[more details over at the link]
Thanks so much to the volunteers who helped to get the word out during our program, and to those of you who were able to participate in the program to help us reach this goal.
In the spring we'll have a celebration when they get their panels done. I'm delighted that this very worthy cause--in this time of the opioid crisis--can benefit from this green power and help them with their baby laundry and breast pumps!
I hope this will warm your hearts during this chilly winter time, and that you have wonderful holidays, whatever you celebrate.
mem_winterhill: (Default)
[personal profile] mem_winterhill
HeatSmart CoolSmart SomervilleAt the Climate Commission meeting last night, we got an update on the heat pumps program that's running now. If you have been thinking about ways to reduce your carbon footprint, you really ought to take a look at these new and high-tech super efficient devices. Or if you know your heating equipment is getting up there in age, you should at least come and learn about these. And they can do heating as well as cooling. In my house, it looks like I'll be able to reduce my natural gas heating a lot and rely on my solar for much of my heating and cooling.

I've been resisting air conditioning over the years for a variety of reasons, but this new style of heating and cooling tech I can have both, with much less environmental impact (and noise). Also right now there are big rebates and low interest loans. It's hard to know how much longer good programs like this will run in our current political environment, you know?

So this event will give you the backstory on the tech. https://www.somervillema.gov/events/2017/10/04/heat-pumps-101

Wed Oct 4 2017 - 6:30pm

West Somerville Community School Cafeteria
177 Powderhouse Blvd.
Somerville, MA 02144
mem_winterhill: (Default)
[personal profile] mem_winterhill
HeatSmart CoolSmart SomervilleIn order to move us towards our city's NetZero energy and emissions goals, a new program has just been launched by the city. HeatSmart/CoolSmart will offer heat pump systems for residents with this incentive program described here: http://www.somervillema.gov/departments/programs/heatsmartcoolsmart-somerville

It's like the Solarize campaign I ran as "coach" last year--but this time it's not as expensive a fix, and it doesn't matter what orientation or condition your roof is in.

There's a coach for this too--Molly--who will kick off the whole thing with an event on Aug 22. You can get a program overview and details there. http://www.somervillema.gov/events/2017/08/22/heatsmartcoolsmart-kick

There are big rebates and loans as part of this. So don't be daunted by the costs at first--have someone come and evaluate your situation and see if it's right for you.

[cross-posted to the new Winter Hill Neighborhood forum--thanks to Ron for guidance on that!]
mem_winterhill: (Default)
[personal profile] mem_winterhill
Solarize Somerville goal metHey neighbors--

Our successful Solarize Somerville program has one more thing to wrap up. Because we hit our goal, we are going to be able to get a solar array donated to an eligible non-profit in the 'Ville.

There are some criteria to meet--you have to own the roof (we don't want some landlord to get the benefit of this, unless that non-profit is the landlord), you have to have the space and the orientation towards the sun, suitable roof condition, stuff like that. But if you know of a local organization that might meet this--tell them to submit their interest at the web form that can be found in the press release:


And please share this around your networks so that we can be sure as many people as possible hear about this.

Just so there's also a link here, let me quote from the release:
For eligibility requirements and to nominate a local nonprofit or house of worship, visit www.somervillema.gov/5kw. The online application will be available until Friday, June 30, 2017.
[identity profile] mem-winterhill.livejournal.com
Hi again folks: although our Solarize Somerville program technically closed after successfully connecting over 100 neighbors with solar for their homes (installations are still going to happen for a while), some people couldn't go solar for various reasons. Roof issues, orientation, condo legal issues, or being in rental property meant not everyone had a suitable place for panels.

But I just got a newsletter from the city about a community solar option that I wanted to pass along, since people had asked me during the program. Clip from the city below.

Community Solar: A “No Roof Required” Solar Option
Renters and owners who want to go solar but could not participate in Solarize Somerville might find an opportunity in Community Solar. Boston-based Relay Power invites Somerville residents to sign up for a spot in their new, local community solar garden.

Participants pay nothing up front and save 10% on their electricity. After subscribing, the solar credits will be automatically transferred to offset your bill. No further effort is required.

The new site in Dover, MA will hold about 100 participants and is expected to be full by 2/28/17. The site is not constructed yet and will likely go live around May. Please visit relaypower.com for more information.

Note: The City is not officially partnered with Mass Energy Consumers Alliance or Relay Power, but we wanted to share the opportunities with residents. The City is not responsible for any actions taken by these institutions or individuals.
[identity profile] mem-winterhill.livejournal.com
Super news today: we have passed a new milestone! We hit 308.46kW of solar in our fair city with this program so far, and 61 systems. And our recent extension seems to have clicked with folks, so we've got a lot of new interest. Our donated array is within our reach now, for sure.

Program extension update: http://www.thesomervilletimes.com/archives/71515
"Site visits are now extended through November 23 and participants have until December 16 to decide if they would like to go solar."

More info below the LJ cut:Read more... )
[identity profile] mem-winterhill.livejournal.com
Quick update on the Solarize Somerville program, with a deadline notice. But there are 2 other things for folks that don't require you to own a sunny roof.


We are up to 45 neighbors and 239 kW of solar power! Our goal of a donated array is in sight!

Coming up on a deadline: to get the pricing associated with the Solarize Somerville program, you need to complete your site visit by October 31. There are a couple of weeks after that to turn around the final paperwork. But if you've been musing about this, now's the time to schedule your visit. Just try it: there's no obligation, and you'll actually have the data to look at and decide. Go to our Solarize site and click the "Consultation" button to set this up. http://www.somervillema.gov/sustainaville/solarize.html

Other opporunities below the LJ cut.Read more... )
[identity profile] mem-winterhill.livejournal.com
SolarizeHi neighbors: I send out a periodic newsletter with updates on the program. You can sign up for those at the Solarize Somerville site. But I thought I'd post this update here as well for folks who might not be on the list. There are various links and a video, I'll put it all below the LJ cut.

Program site: http://www.somervillema.gov/sustainaville/solarize.html

Read more... )
[identity profile] mem-winterhill.livejournal.com
So it turns out we have a lot of neighbors interested in this issue. We filled a room with Cambervillens who wanted to know how this worked for the more complicated situations that we face around here. You can see the turnout in a photo here: https://www.facebook.com/GreenSomerville/ The funniest part for me was during my segment, people actually applauded my electric bill.

We don't have a videotape of this event, but I do have a blog post up with everyone's slides. http://www.somervillema.gov/sustainaville/solarize-blog.html#multi And if you have any questions about the content, I can get you to the creator of that segment for more details. If you want to see my electric bill, it's slide 27.

We also just got the video from our big launch event. I'll do a blog post with some viewing tips/times and the slides from the presenters soon. But if you want to watch the video sooner, feel free. I'll put that below the LJ cut.

Important news: the state is proposing to reduce the SRECs for folks who get interconnected after early January 2017, and the draft proposal says that 1 SREC may = 0.80 in the interim until SRECIII comes along. Because solar has been so successful, we are starting to see incentives changing. If you have been considering solar, it really is time to act before incentives change. They will still exist, the payback time will just take you longer after that.
Read more... )
[identity profile] mem-winterhill.livejournal.com
[Note: time has been shifted to 30min earlier. Doors now will open 6pm, program starts 6:30.]

As you might expect. the cities of Cambridge and Somerville are both facing similar challenges on this issue. So the cities teamed up for a special event dedicated to just this matter. There will be other general educational events still, and we are going to have booths at many city events about our Solarize program. But if you are in a multi-unit situtation this event is worth seeking out specifically.

Join the Sunny Cambridge & Solarize Somerville teams for “Solar 102: Going Solar for Multi-Unit Owners, Condo-Owners, and Landlords” Tuesday, August 16 at Lesley University, located at 1815 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge.

Doors open at 6:00 pm, event starts at 6:30 pm in University Hall, Room 2-078 on the Second Floor.

Have your solar questions answered! Visit www.somervillema.gov/sustainaville/solarize for more info on the Somerville program. Visit https://www.energysage.com/sunnycambridge/ for info on the Cambridge program.
[identity profile] mem-winterhill.livejournal.com
Solarize Mass Somerville is a community initiative to increase the adoption of solar power for the city's homes and businesses. There's a press release out with a lot of the features of the program: http://www.somervillema.gov/news/solarize-campaign-sets-goal-200-somerville-property-owners-commit-install-solar-panels-0

The next big event is next Tuesday July 26, 6pm, at the TAB building, 167 Holland St., it's an evening of informational talks by representatives of the MassCEC (Clean Energy Center), the selected installer for Somerville SolarFlair, and the city's volunteer Solar Coach Mary Mangan, and we will help residents to understand some of the basic of solar power, the program benefits, and the process of going solar.

The Solarize website has been updated: http://www.somervillema.gov/sustainaville/solarize.html You can check the maps and see if your house is suitable for solar. There are other project-related things to explore as well.

Please share the information with your networks to help us Solarize Somerville.

Intro video for the project is below the lj cut...Read more... )
[identity profile] mem-winterhill.livejournal.com
Hello neighbors:
We wanted to let you know that very soon we'll be making the big announcements about the program, and the educational outreach activities are about to begin. So be sure to stay tuned for dates and locations where you can hear about the features of the program, it's coming very shortly.

Like other Solarize Mass communities, we will be offering residents a way to obtain solar PV for their homes in various manners. This can be outright purchase of a system, or with Mass Solar Loan assistance, or through a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). A PPA is an agreement where the system is owned/maintained by a third party financier and then a homeowner purchases the power that's being produced on their roof for a lesser rate than what they are currently paying their utility. These choices can reduce the cost of green power for you. We hope to help you decide what might be right, if you are interested in solar power.

If you have been considering solar, you should think about acting soon. The state's Department of Energy Resources (DOER) is making changes to the SRECII program, which is where "Solar Renewable Energy Credits" are assigned value. SRECII will stop taking new projects, replaced by an SRECIII program. We don't have the details for SRECIII yet. But if you want to obtain solar under the existing incentive structure, you have to act before January 8, 2017.

You can sign up on our web site to be notified as soon as our real launch goes out publicly, or check back there soon for the press release and other details: http://www.somervillema.gov/sustainaville/solarize.html. So be sure to watch for email notices soon, and our city Solarize web site will begin to reflect the program features as well.

If I got your name from previous conversations, you should be in my "interested residents" file and have received this by email.

Thanks for your interest.

[This can be shared with your social media networks if you want to tell your friends and neighbors.]

I'm the volunteer solar coach, Mary.
[identity profile] phpanda.livejournal.com
I haven't seen a post on this recently and I originally had Comcast (now xfinity), prices went thru the roof and switched to RCN a couple of years ago.  My internet connection is not as reliable (both speed and dropped connection) as I like so I am considering an offer from xFinity. I know I need to ask specific and detailed questions to figure the true price.  Any thoughts on digital tv, higher speed internet and reliability for either provider.   If I am going to do this, I want to do it before the September rush!
[identity profile] mem-winterhill.livejournal.com
I attended the city's Commission on Energy Use and Climate Change (CEUCC) meeting this evening. One of the issues discussed was this proposal to have the city adopt a Community Choice Aggregation Program for. From the web site:

The objective of municipal aggregation is to lower electricity bills through the formation of a buying group composed of the residents and businesses without interfering with the level of service provided by the existing utility (Eversource in Somerville), which will continue to distribute the electricity supply. In addition to lowering and stabilizing electricity prices, aggregation can be used to increase the amount of renewable energy in the community’s energy supply.

It sounded like a reasonable proposal, which has been adopted in other communities, as a way to help access more green power, among other benefits. We are still having other initiatives like Solarize Somerville (which is still underway and will roll out later in the spring), but that won't be suitable for everyone's situation. So this might be an option some folks would like to investigate.

They hope that people will read this and ask any questions they might have. http://www.somervillema.gov/sustainaville/cca

(By the way, if this is an issue that interests you and you have skills in their topic areas, the city will also have a couple of openings on this commission soon. Look for announcements.)
avjudge: (Default)
[personal profile] avjudge
I'm posting to let people know the shady utility marketers are back, if they ever left.

Last night I had an unsolicited visit to my front door by a guy who represented himself (vaguely) as from Eversource, here to roll back my rate increase if I would just show him an electric bill. I have little doubt he was a shady marketer for an alternative electricity supplier. If he wasn't that, I don't know what he was, because he certainly wasn't from Eversource.

My phone rang just then so I used that as an excuse - I told him this call was important and I couldn't talk & closed the door in his face. So I never got who he actually represented.

I recognized the modus operandi thanks to my memory of a thread here just exactly a year ago ("Phone call from "PalmCo" wanting to change my electricity supplier"). Since that was useful to me, I thought I'd return the favor by warning those here who may be new here or have forgotten. I trust that no one here would show a bill, but it's much easier to react appropriately if you immediately recognize what's going on.
[personal profile] ron_newman
Last night around 7 pm, someone falsely claiming to be from RCN tried to get into my across-the-hall neighbor's apartment. He said something about a problem in her apartment that was affecting service to the rest of the building. She did NOT let him in, and instead called both RCN and the building manager. RCN confirmed that they don't make visits like this after 5 pm.

So, be careful out there.
[identity profile] mem-winterhill.livejournal.com
Hello neighbors--

On this cold winter day, I'm delighted to share the sunny news that Somerville MA has been chosen by the MassCEC (Clean Energy Center) to be a Solarize Mass community! You can see the announcement here:

State energy officials today announced the selection of the first five communities to participate in Solarize Mass for 2016.  The new municipalities participating in the community-based solar energy group-buying program that lowers overall costs of installing solar electric systems include Somerville and Natick, as well as Shelburne, Colrain and Conway, which have joined as a trio of partner communities....

You can learn more about the MassCEC and the SolarizeMass program at: www.solarizemass.com .

More after the LJ cut....
Read more... )
[identity profile] mzrowan.livejournal.com
Just got word from Somerville's Solar Coach that the city has been accepted into the Solarize Mass program for 2016. Official press release: http://www.masscec.com/about-masscec/news/state-energy-officials-announce-five-new-communities-participate-solar-program (very dry and formatted so badly it's nigh unreadable)

From the email: "As the announcement has just been made, we don't have a lot of additional information at this time. But this selection means that we can now work with the city and the state to help residents of Somerville to decide if solar is a suitable option for them and their homes or businesses. We'll be developing and sharing educational materials, we'll have events to help people learn more and get questions answered, and we will help people to understand the processes associated with generating local, artisanal electrons."


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