Methuen, first settled as part of Haverhill in 1642, became an independent community in 1724 and now has a population of over 47,000. Methuen is rich in historic architecture with notable landmarks such as the Nevins Memorial Library, the Tenney Gatehouse, and the Searles building. The city benefited from a strong textile sector during the 19th century, focusing on cotton milling, hats, and shoes. The nearby Merrimack River provided a source of hydroelectric power for the local textile industry.
In recent years, the Methuen municipal government has promoted another form of renewable energy: solar power. The city has carried out significant efforts to make the city’s energy supply greener while also reducing energy prices:
The Methuen private sector is also investing in solar power. For example, General Mills deployed a solar panel system at its local warehouse capable of generating 55% of the total energy consumed onsite.
National Grid is the electric utility serving Methuen, and its electricity rates exceed 19 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) during peak demand hours. This is nearly 50% higher than the national average! In addition, there was a sharp increase in National Grid electricity rates between 2016 and 2017; most National Grid customers saw their bills increase by 10 to 20 percent. The Methuen Community Choice program has helped mitigate the high rates charged by National Grid, but residents of Methuen are still paying some of the highest electricity rates in the nation. Due to these high rates, many home and business owners in Methuen have already turned to solar power and other renewable generation technologies to reduce their utility bill.
Power bill savings are not the only financial benefit of solar panels in Methuen. You can also accumulate Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) when your solar panel system generates 1,000 kWh of solar energy. These SRECs can be sold back to National Grid for $270 to help the utility meet its Renewable Portfolio Standard. If you combine energy savings and SREC sales, solar panel owners in Methuen can see a total economic value of $460 for every 1,000 kWh of solar energy produced!
In addition to these benefits, there are tax incentives that make solar panels more affordable. There are both tax exemptions and tax credits available if you live in Methuen:
The combination of tax incentives, power bill savings and SREC sales makes solar panel systems a very lucrative investment. If you cannot afford to pay for a solar system upfront, there are many financing options available that require little or no money down, and if you own a lot of equity in your home, you should consider financing the array with a home equity line of credit (HELOC). The energy savings and SREC income from your solar panel system is normally enough to cover your monthly loan payments, which means that you can start saving with solar panels immediately without having to put any money down.