It’s official: Andover has gone solar.
Rick Sullivan, the state secretary of energy and environmental affairs, announced earlier this month that Andover is one of 15 so-called Solarize Massachusetts communities, allowing its residents and businesses to participate in a discount solar installation program.
Anil Navkal of Rock’O’Dundee Road attended the Dec. 2 ceremony in Amherst on behalf of Andover to hear the good news.
“The Green Advisory Board and the Solarize Andover Committee are delighted to announce we have been selected for participation in the program,” said Navkal, who may now adopt the official moniker of Solar Coach.
“This gives the town a unique opportunity for residents to participate in harvesting solar energy in an affordable package. The more people participate, the bigger the discount.
“The Solarize Andover team is committed to bringing this message to the entire community — both business owners and residents.”
Under the program, discounts for potentially costly solar installations, which usually run in the tens of thousands of dollars, will range from a low of 5 percent to a high of 25 percent. Combined with federal and state incentives along with energy credits, the cost of installations will be reduced significantly, decreasing the number of years it takes to pay off a rooftop or ground-based system of solar panels.
Ever the optimist, Navkal believes — and even has it on his new business cards — that the Solarize Andover Committee will sign up 100 new customers in 100 days thanks to the program.
“You only need 40 to get the full discount,” he said. “We will definitely get that discount. I think it’s possible we’ll get 200 installations. I’m very optimistic.”
Once Andover was designated a Solarize Massachusetts community, Navkal and his committee began accepting applications from potential solar installation companies. The deadline to apply was Dec. 12. Working with staff from the state’s Clean Energy Commission, Solarize Andover will cull through the applications as part of a competitive process and narrow the field of potential installers down to three finalists.