Updated 02/15/2013 12:20 PM
Berkshire County cities and towns encouraged to apply for Solarize Mass
Berkshire County communities are being encouraged to apply for a statewide program to increase the use of solar electricity. The program links people with provide solar power to homes. YNN's Madeleine Rivera talked to one family that participated in the program and has more on the story.
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Solar panels are more common now in Pittsfield than they were a year ago thanks to a statewide program to promote solar electricity.
"Solarize Mass is really a great opportunity for residents to go solar," said Nate Joyner, the coach for Pittsfield's Solarize Mass program.
The program connects residents with companies that install the solar panels. Pittsfield was chosen as once of 17 communities for the program last year. So far, the installation company, Astrum Solar, has installed panels in about 30 homes.
"It's functioned pretty much flawlessly," said Pete Rentz.
He is one resident who took advantage of the program when the city was approved for it last year.
"I figured if the city was behind this, the chances of anything going wrong would be slim," he said.
Rentz has 21 solar panels on his roof, and they produce about a third of his electricity. He expects that number to increase sometime during the summer when we have longer days and more sun. And, if you want to know how much he's saved so far, wait until you hear what he received on one of his latest electricity bills.
$19 was what Rentz paid last November. He says he's seen his bill cut to half of what he used to pay.
"It's made a noticeable reduction in our electric bill," he said.
And, more Berkshire residents can take advantage of this opportunity, if their communities apply for the program. Solarize Mass is accepting applications for the next round of installations.
"There are no losers here. There are just winners. It marries the interests of the community with the services available from various solar installers," said Joyner.
The deadline for the program is February 20.