GREAT BARRINGTON -- Two southern Berkshire County towns are joining forces to be accepted into the Solarize Mass program.
The towns of Egremont and Great Barrington will submit a joint application before the Oct. 22 deadline to participate in the state-sponsored solar energy program intended to help homeowners save money on their electric bill.
The interest was spurred by positive results seen in the Solarize Mass municipalities of Pittsfield and Lenox, according to Great Barrington Town Planner Chris Rembold. Williamstown and Lee were accepted into Solarize Mass earlier this year.
"They've all been successful and I hope there will be two more," Rembold said.
The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center will let the towns know by late November whether the application will receive further review. MassCEC, along with the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, will review municipal requests and pick between eight and 10 proposals to participate in the program.
The Great Barrington Board of Selectmen on Tuesday approved the cover letter and application drafted by the town's Energy Committee. Great Barrington resident Malcolm Fick has accepted the responsibilities of local coordinator and promoting the project.
The town sent emails about Solarize Mass to a portion of the Great Barrington community.
"Ninety percent [of the responses] said they were interested in participating in the program," Rembold said.
Egremont is partnering with the Great Barrington because it's not large enough to meet the population density requirement, Rembold said.
The three-year-old Solarize Mass program gives homeowners options to buy photovoltaic systems outright from a state-approved installer, lease the solar panels, or have the company own and maintain the solar cells. By committing to the project as a community electricity generated through the solar arrays can be sold to homeowners at reduced rates.
At the request of home and business owners, the companies complete a site assessment -- free of charge -- to determine the solar compatibility of the properties and potentially offer several financing options to pay for the installation.
The more individuals who sign up, the lower the costs. The final installation cost is determined by the number of total kilowatt hours in each community being produced.