EarthTalk: Home Solar 101


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Dear EarthTalk: I'm finally ready to join the 21st century and commit to putting solar panels on my roof. Where do I start? —Henry Hughes, Washington, DC

Good things may in fact come to those who wait. There’s never been a better time to go solar, given how much prices for panels have come down while efficiency in converting sunlight to electricity—even in less-than-sunny locales—has risen dramatically. Of course, you can’t just snap your fingers and get panels on your roof. First you have to navigate a confusing maze of regulations, incentives and installers before anyone even looks your roof over for feasibility.

The first place to start is to find out which federal, state and local incentives may be available in your neck of the woods for going solar. Check out the free online Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE), a comprehensive information resource that’s updated by North Carolina State researchers working off a U.S. Department of Energy grant.

How does solar work? Is my home suitable for solar panels? Will I save money by going solar? Can I get financing? How will solar impact my home’s resale value? If you’re looking for answers to questions like these, the Department of Energy’s Homeowner’s Guide to Going Solar has you covered.

Trying to figure out if it's better to lease or buy your solar panels? You’re not alone, and it's hard to do the math given the apples/oranges scenario. Luckily, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) spells it all out clearly—not just whether to lease or buy but also how to get multiple bids to save money and which questions to ask before entering into an agreement with an installer—in its recently updated Residential Consumer Guide to Solar Power.

Given how new the solar industry is, it's often hard to know whether a given installer is going to be reputable, let alone be able to survive the next economic downturn. Angie's List offers several pearls of wisdom—how the cheapest bid may not be the best deal, why extended warranties may not be worthwhile, how to save yourself from death by paperwork—in a recent article on the topic.

When you’re finally ready to find an installer, check out the “Find a Certified Professional” page on the website of the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP), a trade group that offers the “gold standard” in professional certification and company accreditation programs to renewable energy professionals.

If you’re a quote-comparing type, you'll also want to check out Energy Sage, a website that lets you compare quotes from solar installers in your area. This free service is maintained by the Department of Energy’s (DoE’s) SunShot Initiative, a national effort to support solar energy adoption by making solar energy affordable for all Americans.

While you can’t go wrong with a highly touted local installer, there are also benefits to choosing one of a handful of companies leasing or selling solar panels on a larger scale across the country and beyond. SolarCity/Tesla, Vivint, Sunrun, Sunnova and SunPower are a few of the leaders, each offering solar installs in California and several other states including New Jersey, Massachusetts, Arizona and Hawaii.

CONTACTS: DSIRE, www.dsireusa.org; NABCEP, www.nabcep.org/certified-installer-locator; Energy Sage, www.energysage.com; Angie’s List, www.angieslist.com/articles/how-hire-solar-panel-installer.htm; SEIA, www.seia.org; DoE, energy.gov/eere/sunshot/homeowner-s-guide-going-solar.

EarthTalk® is produced by Roddy Scheer & Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of the nonprofit Earth Action Network. To donate, visit www.earthtalk.org. Send questions to: question@earthtalk.org.

See also:
Better-Looking Rooftop Solar Panels
Women Take Control Of Solar Revolution

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Daily Astrology

October 20, 2017

A trio of planets in early Scorpio, comprised of Jupiter, Mercury and the Moon, fans flames of hope today. The intrepid threesome is nicely aligned with mystical Neptune. Spiritual, as well as altruistic and artistic leanings are brilliantly served…
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Calendar

October 2017

Learn Reiki — revitalizing self-care and healing in the palm of your hands. Facilitated by Lou Orsan, Reiki Shihan (master teacher.) This one-day class covers the...

Cost: $125

Where:
Northeast Reiki Center
61 Nicholas Road
Framingham, MA  01701
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Sponsor: Northeast Reiki Center
Telephone: 508-808-5696
Contact Name: Lou Orsan
Website »

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With Barbara Blanchard Headaches are a common clinical condition that can benefit from acupuncture and acupressure treatment. This workshop will study the different types of headaches as defined...

Cost: $125 students, $175 professionals

Where:
Roots and Wings Yoga and Healing Arts
317 North Main Street
Natick, MA  01760
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Sponsor: Eastern Medicinal Therapies Education Center
Telephone: 617-435-3586
Contact Name: Lauren Paap
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January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
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Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
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All-day retreat, including meal, movement, morning and afternoon experiential sessions. Limited spots, pre-registration required. Email Kyle@PortalCrystalGallery.com or visit...

Where:
Portal Crystal Gallery
489 Mass Ave.
Arlington, MA
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Sponsor: Crystal Concentrics
Contact Name: Kyle Russell
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Guided loving kindness meditation every Sunday at HeartSong Spiritual Wellness. No charge to attend. Donations are appreciated to help support this non-profit wellness center. Read more:...

Cost: Free

Where:
HeartSong Spiritual Wellness
23 Pine Street
Milford, MA  01757
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Sponsor: HeartSong
Contact Name: Jacki Rose
Website »

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January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

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The Daoist Benevolent Association offers free classes on traditional Wudang style tai chi. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Brown School
42 Milk St Newburyport
Newburyport, MA  01950
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Sponsor: Daoist Benevolent Association
Telephone: 978-462-4617
Contact Name: Barbara
Website »

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Nancy's therapeutic and healing nature stems from her own personal journey through health struggles. Her style is open to everyone, no matter physical or mental challenges, or age....

Cost: $15 drop in or $12 with 10 class bundle

Where:
HeartSong Spiritual Wellness
23 Pine Street
Milford, MA  01757
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Sponsor: HeartSong Spiritual Wellness Center
Website »

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January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
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Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

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Come join Mary Budrose on October 17, November 14, December 14, from 7-8pm to learn more about the The Budrose Center For Spiritual Growth healing program and experience a chakra balancing...

Where:
Budrose Center for Spiritual Growth (Blossom Healings)
54 Main Street
Topsfield, MA  01983
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Telephone: 978-561-1687
Contact Name: Mary Budrose
Website »

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The Daoist Benevolent Association offers free classes on traditional Wudang style tai chi. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Brown School
42 Milk St Newburyport
Newburyport, MA  01950
View map »


Sponsor: Daoist Benevolent Association
Telephone: 978-462-4617
Contact Name: Barbara
Website »

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One-of-a-kind, life changing holistic health education program again being offered free of charge Local business owner shares groundbreaking mind-body-spirit course to combat obesity epidemic...

Cost: Free

Where:
Wilbraham Senior Center
45 Post Office Park
#4502
Wilbraham, MA  01095
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Sponsor: Harmony Way
Telephone: 413-636-2475
Contact Name: Michelle Caron
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Beginner Kripalu Yoga with Lisa Davidson Brand new to yoga or returning after a break, this class is kind and challenging for your body, relaxing and destressing for your mind, and will help you...

Cost: $113 for 7 weeks

Where:
A Yoga Leaf
@ Whimsy
686 Worcester Rd.
Framingham, MA  01702
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Sponsor: Lisa Davidson
Contact Name: Lisa Davidson
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A unique divine healing meditation, lead by Bhavna, to help you in your life; with your relationships, money, work and family. Also, the meditation helps with letting go to release...

Cost: $10

Where:
Bhavna’s Wellness Group
512 Main St.
Penthouse Suite
Shrewsbury, MA  01545
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Sponsor: Bhavna’s Wellness Group
Telephone: 508-970-5620
Contact Name: Krista Bennett
Website »

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Daoist Priest Zhou Xuanyun teaches traditional Wudang style kung fu.

Cost: $110/month

Where:
Boston Ultimate Fitness
72 Beach Street (4th Floor)
Boston, MA  02111
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Sponsor: Daoist Gate Wudang Arts
Telephone: 508-245-8305
Contact Name: Zhou Xuanyun
Website »

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January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

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Christopher Penczak discusses how you can call upon Michael for aid in your own life and to help the planet. Explore the lore and magick of this beloved figure who crosses many cultures and...

Cost: $35

Where:
Circles of Wisdom
90 Main Street
Andover, MA  01810
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Telephone: 978-474-8010
Website »

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October 18 - 20, 2017  With Renée Starr Ladies, reclaim your sacredness, awaken your devotion, and become the magic you seek. Details at www.goddesspriestesswitch.com. ...

Where:
ZuZu's Healing Arts
122 West Emerson
Melrose, MA  02176
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Telephone: 781-665-8844
Website »

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This gentle yoga class is good for all skill levels. Scheduled perfectly in the middle of your week; the movements will be a welcome respite to your usual morning routine.

Cost: $10

Where:
Bhavna’s Wellness Group
512 Main St.
Penthouse Suite
Shrewsbury, MA  01545
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Sponsor: Bhavna’s Wellness Group
Telephone: 508-970-5620
Contact Name: Krista Bennett
Website »

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Weekly yoga classes with Rev. Michelle Caron, RMT, CYT, ZIN of Harmony Way on Wednesdays at 12:15 PM and Fridays at 9:30 AM at the Wilbraham Senior Center. Class welcomes all ages and uses a...

Cost: $5

Where:
Wilbraham Senior Center
45 Post Office Park, #4502
Wilbraham, MA  01095
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Sponsor: Harmony Way
Telephone: 413-636-2475
Contact Name: Rev. Michelle Caron, RMT, CYT, ZIN
Website »

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With Lisa Rockenmacher and Kristan Bishop Looking for a deeper connection with bliss? Seeking practical ways to increase wellness and health in all aspect of your life? Do you desire a...

Cost: $100

Where:
YogaLife Institute of NH
6 Chestnut Street
Lower Level
Exeter, NH  03833
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Sponsor: YogaLife Institute of NH
Telephone: 603-969-8968
Contact Name: Brian Serven
Website »

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Are you ready to embrace more self-compassion and nurturing into your life? Take the plunge now! This 6 week group will weave yoga, creative arts, meditation, journaling and...

Cost: $180

Where:
Integrated Psychotherapy
31 Hastings Street
Mendon, MA  01756
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Telephone: 508-335-6732
Contact Name: Sherri Snyder, MA, LMHC
Website »

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January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

More information

​One Night Only in Portland! Enlightened Spiritual Teacher Dave Oshana! Experience the transformational miracles of the enlightenment transmission. Enjoy the freedom to be your true self!...

Cost: Free, donations accepted.

Where:
Z Dance Club
1844 Forest Avenue
Portland, ME  04103
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Sponsor: Enlightenment Transmission Foundation
Telephone: 207-443-7001
Contact Name: Maryanna Bock
Website »

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What are smudge fans, and what are they used for? Smudging is probably best known as a Native American ritual, although smudging has been used since ancient times by many people as a ceremony of...

Cost: $25

Where:
YOUnity Yoga & Wellness
189 Main Street
4th floor
Milford, MA  01757
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Sponsor: YOUnity Yoga & Wellness
Telephone: 508-478-3333
Contact Name: Barbara Hickson
Website »

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In this 220-hour, one-year program with lead trainer Hari Kaur, you will become an instructor and learn the fundamental principles and practices of Kundalini Yoga.

Where:
Yoga At The Ashram
368 Village Street
Millis, MA
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Telephone: 508-376-4525
Website »

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January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

More information

People get ready! We are going to stir it up! One time only! Join Chuck Raffoni (Relax and Recharge with Chuck) for a night of Broga® Yoga, Bob Marley and Brews at Western Ave. Studios in...

Cost: $25

Where:
Western Ave Studios
122 Western Ave
Lowell, MA  01851
View map »


Sponsor: Relax and Recharge with Chuck
Contact Name: Chuck
Website »

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Certification in Core Energetics with directors Karyne Wilner, PsyD and Charles Corley, Med. For heart-centered psychotherapists and body-mind healers. Training begins October 20.

Where:
Middletown, RI


Telephone: 401-316-7401
Website »

More information

Weekly yoga classes with Rev. Michelle Caron, RMT, CYT, ZIN of Harmony Way on Wednesdays at 12:15 PM and Fridays at 9:30 AM at the Wilbraham Senior Center. Class welcomes all ages and uses a...

Cost: $5

Where:
Wilbraham Senior Center
45 Post Office Park, #4502
Wilbraham, MA  01095
View map »


Sponsor: Harmony Way
Telephone: 413-636-2475
Contact Name: Rev. Michelle Caron, RMT, CYT, ZIN
Website »

More information

Daoist Priest Zhou Xuanyun teaches traditional Wudang style kung fu.

Cost: $110/month

Where:
Boston Ultimate Fitness
72 Beach Street (4th Floor)
Boston, MA  02111
View map »


Sponsor: Daoist Gate Wudang Arts
Telephone: 508-245-8305
Contact Name: Zhou Xuanyun
Website »

More information

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October 21 - 22, 2017 A two-day training facilitated by Reiki Shihan (Master-Teacher), Lou Orsan This two-day Level II training enhances your knowledge and practice of traditional Japanese...

Cost: $190

Where:
Northeast Reiki Center
61 Nicholas Road, Suite B2
Framingham, MA  01701
View map »


Sponsor: Northeast Reiki Center
Telephone: 508-808-5696
Contact Name: Lou Orsan
Website »

More information

Do you desire more connection and nourishing touch?  Do you find it hard to ask for what you really would like in life and in the bedroom? Do you want to improve your confidence and...

Cost: $97

Where:
Watertown Center for Healing Arts
17 Spring St
Watertown, MA
View map »


Sponsor: Conscious Intimacy
Telephone: 415-244-1652
Contact Name: Brynn Bishop
Website »

More information

January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

More information

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