BARNSTABLE – A Brewster company specializing in solar energy is planning a “community solar garden” that is designed to save electricity and money for a group of participants.
Luke Hinkle of My Generation Energy in Brewster is the manager of Suntility Electrict which is working on the cooperative project. The new solar array should be operational by early May, according to Hinkle.
Hinkle said members of the cooperative will receive credits on their electric bills.
Currently the group is preparing for the construction process.
“We are permitted and now beginning construction of a solar array of just over 3,000 panels in an area known as Sippican, which are the towns of Marion, Mattapoisett and Rochester,” he said.
Hinkle said the coop is expected to eventually have between a 100 and 150 members.
He explained how a community solar garden works.
Newly enacted energy policies make the community-based approach a cost-effective and efficient method to take control of energy needs, he explained in a written statement. “We can keep our energy dollars within the community while we generate clean electricity,” according to Hinkle.
By pooling the resources of the members, Hinkle explained on his website, the group creates a Cooperative that benefits from the locally produced solar energy. Thanks to “virtual net metering” each member receives their benefits without having separate wires running to their home or business.
Members of the Coop receive a percentage of the net metering credit produced by the community solar garden project based on the number of so-called “sunshades” that are purchased. For many homes, one SunShare will cover most of their electricity demand, according to HInkle. Businesses or homes with higher electricity bills can maximize their benefits by matching their electricity usage with the appropriate number of SunShares.