At a recent ROC training event in Massachusetts, I had the opportunity to talk energy efficiency with an engineer from New Ecology and a group of ROC leaders. Specifically, we had a conversation about LED lighting, variable-speed well pumps and other “retrofits” that can help ROCs reduce their energy bills and improve the safety, comfort and overall performance of their communities.
Rev. Michael Scarlett shared a story about how his community, Colonial Estates in Taunton, Mass., was able to simply replace light bulbs in the existing street lights (as opposed to replacing the whole set up), which reduced the expense by about two-thirds on each of about 30 electrical meters. As opposed to payback period of a few years, which seems to be typical for LED lighting conversions, this Colonial Estates should recoup its investment within just a few months, and then continue to save money well into the future. They built off of that to install a very small solar array along with a different kind of exterior LED lighting to illuminate an outdoor gathering area so that they can enjoy it longer into the evening hours. Great stuff!
We also talked a little bit about larger-scale solar energy. Especially in Massachusetts right now, the incentives and rate structure for solar projects that benefit lower-income households are very favorable. ROCs in Minnesota, New York and New Hampshire have started moving forward with solar projects in their communities.
Hopefully ROCs in Massachusetts and other states can too. To see what resources are available to assist your community with energy-related projects, can check with your utility company, the public utilities commission in your state, your local CAP agencies, etc. Note: Sometimes Program Administrators don’t know whether ROCs should fit into the “single-family,” “multi-family” or “C&I” (commercial and industrial) program areas. If this is presenting a challenge for your community, please connect with your CTAP or ROC USA and we can try and assist.
Kevin Porter is the loan officer at ROC USA Capital and a renewable energy enthusiast. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.