Friday, June 1, 2012

Company Gives A Boost To Mass. Solar Energy Use

James Champoux thought about going solar for a while, but the numbers just didn’t make sense — until he found an option that allowed him to rent solar panels instead of buying them.
From left, Gov. Deval L. Patrick, state Secretary of Energy
and Environmental Affairs Richard K. Sullivan, SolarCity
Operations Manager Tim Roper and Ed Steins, the company’s
regional director, participate in a recent ribbon-cutting
ceremony at SolarCity’s new facility in Marlboro.

Last fall he signed a 20-year lease and had more than two dozen shiny blue panels installed on the roof of his Colonial-style home in Charlton.

“Last month, our electricity bill was $25,” Mr. Champoux said. “Our average bill before we got the panels was $150.”

He also pays about $77 a month to lease the panels from SolarCity, a rapidly growing solar power company that is expanding in Massachusetts.

Customers like Mr. Champoux, who want to use clean energy but are not willing or able to pay thousands of dollars to buy a solar system, are fueling the company’s growth. Based in San Mateo, Calif., SolarCity opened a new facility in Marlboro this month, combining two smaller offices it had in Raynham and Billerica. Since September, the company’s Massachusetts workforce has tripled from 15 to 45. And it is looking to fill 30 more positions.

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