Ruth Potwin goes over the details of installing solar panels on her home with Chelmsford resident Tom Amiro. The pair were on hand for Wednesday s Solarize Lowell panel discussion at Enterprise Bank. SUN/AARON CURTIS
LOWELL — Gary Potwin simply laughs when asked if pursuing renewable energy for his home was the right move.
Gary and his wife Ruth Potwin, of Lowell, had 12 solar panels installed on their Douglas Road home in April 2014 and they are thrilled they did it.
Along with meeting their desire to switch to clean energy, they say the financial savings have been significant.
Based on the statistics the Potwins gathered, they would have paid an average of $674 a year, over the last four years, if they didn’t have the solar panels put on their roof. With the panels, the couple said they actually paid $163.
There satisfaction with the first 12 panels has resulted in the couple planning to place an additional 16 solar panels put on their home’s roof, along with an air-source heat pump, through the Solarize Lowell program.
Lowell City Councilor Karen Cirillo moderates a panel discussion for Solarize Lowell. SUN/AARON CURTIS
The city of Lowell is working to transition toward more clean energy options through participation in the Solarize Mass Plus program. After a bidding process, with support from Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, the Solarize Lowell selection team announced North Andover-based ReVision Energy as the program installer.
In addition to allowing Lowell residents to move toward clean energy, Jay Mason, chairman of the Lowell Sustainability Council and a volunteer with Solarize Lowell, said the program brings “deep discounts” on solar and heat pump purchases.
The discounts include a 30 percent federal discount available until the end of 2019, and another 15 to 20 percent discount available through the Solarize Lowell program.
In addition to the program discount and the federal tax credit, financial incentives for owners of solar projects has been issued under the Department of Energy Resources’ Solar Massachusetts Renewable (SMART) program.
“The incentives we are getting from ReVision Energy and the Solarized Lowell program, we couldn’t pass this up,” Ruth said about their purchase of 16 more solar panels.
The couple appeared on Wednesday night during a Solarize Lowell panel discussion. In hand they had a poster board displaying all their savings and cost statistics, along with a map of their house, showing where the panels are currently located, and where the new batch will be located.
City Councilor Karen Cirillo served as the moderator for the event, attended by panelists including James Manzer, of ReVision Energy, and Sandra Brinquinho, of Enterprise Bank, who discussed financing options for renewable energy options.
Several community residents attended the meeting to ask questions about clean energy options.
“I think we have an opportunity to do something toward a cleaner energy future for our community and our city and the state,” Mason said. “If we take steps in our own back yard, we’re going to get where we need to go.”
For more about Solarize Lowell, go to solarizelowell.com.
Follow Aaron Curtis on Twitter @aselahcurtis