Solar Insights: Q&A with Solar Customer Larry Spencer from Cerebral Palsy of Massachusetts

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“The savings we generate from the solar project will help us to fund additional services for people with disabilities in the future.  This investment will result in long-term service enhancements to the people we serve.” -Larry Spencer

Larry Spencer, CEO 

Cerebral Palsy of Massachusetts (CPMA) was incorporated on June 20, 1952 with the stated purpose of providing rehabilitative and related services for developmentally disabled children and adults, and persons with handicapping neurological dysfunction and their families. Services began in a one-room clinic at the Quincy Health Center where physical, occupational and speech therapies were offered on a limited basis.  Today, the CPMA currently provides service for people with all kinds of disabilities.

Cerebral Palsy of MA has had several green initiatives, and just recently completed their biggest to date in their solar array. Since then, the company has been reaping the benefits of solar energy.

Why did you make the decision to go solar?

Margaret Barrett-Hall is our Compliance Manager and a huge proponent of any and all green initiatives.  Margaret worked on replacing of all of our lights to LEDs and upgrading HVAC systems for the agency.  She was the person who suggested using solar to reduce our costs and spearheaded the project, convincing management that solar is not only good for the agency, but also good for the world. The fact that we are producing our own energy and that the system will pay itself off in a relatively short period of time, were important factors in our decision to go solar.

Why did you choose Solect as your solar partner?

Matt Shortsleeve, Solect’s VP of Development, authored a very credible presentation and his experience in the field was impressive.  Matt helped us to understand all aspects of the solar project, which made the decision an easy one.

How do your energy / operating costs from before you went solar compare to those after going solar?

We were averaging approximately $14,000 per month in electrical costs and are now reaping the benefits of this project.  The combination of the electric costs we’re avoiding along with the SREC revenue has reduced our net costs to approximately $9,000 per month.  At this rate, we would expect the system to pay for itself in about 7 years – including the cost of replacing the roof prior to installation of the solar panels.

What has been the best part of your solar experience?

Seeing the panels on the roof and evaluating the impact the panels have on the finances of the organization.  The projection of the funds that will be available in the future to serve our consumers is exciting.  We can think of no better way to invest in our world and the clients we serve at the same time.

Can you tell us a little bit about how going solar has changed your organization from a business perspective?

The savings we generate from the solar project will help us to fund additional services for people with disabilities in the future.  This investment will result in long-term service enhancements to the people we serve.

Did going solar encourage you to pursue any other “green” initiatives?

We realize that solar is the first step in our working with staff to find other ways to reduce our energy demand.  We’ll display the solar monitoring information in the lobby of our building to demonstrate our production. We will also encourage staff to decrease energy demand in other ways to help to offset the additional 50% of the electricity we’re not generating from solar.  As mentioned before, we also upgraded all of the lighting fixtures in our building to LED and have completed an HVAC VFD integration project.

What advice do you have for business or property owners looking to go solar?

If you evaluate the investment and payback period, you’ll discover that investing in a solar project is a prudent investment and it helps the environment.

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