Race to Solar FAQs

Temple Isaiah

Temple Isaiah

HEET offered the Race To Solar program in 2014.  

We will announce if the program is offered again in the future.


Questions about Solar

Which nonprofits are eligible?

Any nonprofit with a commercial energy bill (food pantries, houses of worship, preschools, and other entities) that has good sun exposure with a roof in good condition.  The nonprofit needs to own the building and be in good financial standing.

What is a solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)?

The investor rents, owns and insures the panels and sells the electricity back to you at a price that is generally lower than you are currently paying your utility company.  The electricity rate is guaranteed for the next decade giving you greater predictability in your budgets, as well as the knowledge that your electricity is clean and renewable.  After 20 years, the panels will be donated to you, to generate free electricity to your organization.

What if our organization wants to directly purchase the solar energy system?

An alternative to the PPA option is for you to directly purchase a solar system at a price that’s below current market prices. By purchasing a solar system, you’ll be able to take advantage of state incentives that not only save you money, but also generate income and reduce your reliance on fossil fuels for years to come.

Can our organization get a production guarantee?

Production guarantees have the effect of increasing the PPA rate since the financier would need to accrue for the potential liability. For our Race To Solar PPA, we’ve provided the least possible set of costs to nonprofit organizations—zero down, discounted electricity, and zero cost to own at the end. Furthermore, the PPA provider has vested financial interest in the system performing as designed, so in effect that constitutes an implicit production guarantee.

What are the benefits to participating in the program?

Whether or not you qualify into the race, you will have lowered your own energy cost by getting an energy upgrade.  You will have helped your community and the planet by reducing your energy consumption.

What are the up-front costs of participating in the Race to Solar Program?

There are no fees associated with the program.  Participating in the Direct Install program saves you money on your energy bill for years to come.  The solar power purchase also has no out-of-pocket costs and give you greater predictability in your electricity bills, while providing clean renewable energy for your building.

Can we afford solar?

With no upfront costs, and payments that are likely below your utility payments, participating will benefit your organization and your community.

Who is the solar installer/investor?

SunBug Solar. SunBug is a solar energy consulting and installation company with offices in sunny Somerville, Massachusetts. We are complete solar installers, offering site analysis, system design, rebate processing, and system monitoring. SunBug bridges the gaps between energy consultants, solar panel manufacturers and government incentive programs to bring customers complete solar installations. SunBug Solar was selected using a competitive RFP process and evaluated by an Advisory Panel.

Can I work with a different solar installer/ investor?

To access the attractive solar power or direct purchase offers, the nonprofit will need to work with HEET’s selected solar installer.  HEET managed a request for proposal process that selected the best quality solar power purchase and direct purchase offering for the Race to Solar program.   HEET has worked hard to get the best deal possible.

How long will the program last?  

The Race to Solar program kicks-off in April and runs through March 31, 2014.  Nonprofits that qualified into the program during the campaign can work with the solar installer to install their panels within a year of their contract date.

Who is HEET partnering with on the Race to Solar project?

The City of Boston, City of Cambridge, Cambridge Energy Alliance, Renew Boston, Eversource, Climate Action Leadership Coalition, and Green Cambridge.

Energy Efficiency

What types of incentives are available for energy upgrades?

The Direct Install program covers up to 70% of the total cost (instant rebate, no money out of your pocket) for:
• High efficiency lighting and lighting controls
• HVAC tune ups
• Fridge measures and controls
• Motors
• Spray valves
• Thermostats and other items

Zero interest financing is available so you will have no out-of-pocket costs.  The work is turnkey, taking away all old equipment to recycle it. On average the work reduces the electricity use by 30%.

Is there a maximum incentive allowable?

Some of the measures are free, but in general it’s up to 70%.  There is zero interest financing available for up to 12 months.  An energy evaluation with our partner RISE Engineering (Eversource vendor) will indicate what improvements can be made and the rebates that are available to you.  You can choose which work you want performed from the work they suggest.

What if a nonprofit has already performed an energy efficiency upgrade?

The non-profit will then just need to refer another small business instead, totaling six small businesses that will need to be referred to the Direct Install provider, RISE Engineering.

Who is performing the energy efficiency Direct Install upgrade?

RISE Engineering is an Eversource approved provider.  One of the first one-stop energy solution providers, RISE has been providing leading-edge reduction strategies for three decades. Their objective is to help homes and enterprises reduce their environmental footprint, while making spaces more comfortable, healthful, affordable and efficient.

Can I use a different Direct Install vendor?

To qualify into the program, nonprofits will need to work with our partner RISE Engineering.

What type of businesses can sign up?

Any building with a commercial energy bill (i.e. not a residence).  Some of the ones that can save the most energy are laundromats, car dealers, restaurants, corner stores, supermarkets, and other retail space.  You will be saving them money while helping the planet.  We will provide lots of info for you to talk to them with and you will have already gone through the experience yourself, so you can tell them how easy it is.


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