Renewable Energy

The Town of Natick, MA is a “solar suburb” and we strive to serve as a model for renewable energy across our region.

With nearly 10 megawatts of installed solar, Natick is home to more than 500 solar arrays and is in the top 20% of states for solar capacity per person. Our municipality was one of the first in Massachusetts to install solar on public buildings, and we expect to meet 20% of municipal electricity needs with solar by the end of 2018. We are also seeking new and innovative projects, such as solar canopies over public parking lots, community solar financing models and virtual net metering agreements with area solar developers. Details on these projects, including resources for installers, solar metrics and a map of local installs are provided via the links on the left-hand side of this page.

While we are proud of these achievements, our journey is far from over. Market data suggests more than 50% of Natick roofs are suitable for solar and that these systems could generate more than 100,000 megawatt-hours of clean, local power annually. We are motivated to help these properties realize their potential, and are excited to participate in SolSmart, a national program designed to encourage local solar development by implementing best practices that make going solar simple, accessible and affordable.

SolSmart Bronze

SolSmart recognizes communities for reducing barriers and increasing solar adoption by taking action on issues related to Planning, Zoning and Development; Permitting; Inspection; Construction Codes; Solar Rights; Utility Engagement; Community Engagement; and Market Development and Finance. To-date, Natick has completed more than 25 SolSmart recommended actions, including:
 

  • Installing solar capacity on local facilities
  • Hosting a community group-purchase solar program (Solarize Mass Natick)
  • Publishing a solar permit checklist
  • Eliminating excess inspections for solar
  • Providing clear guidance for solar PV in historic districts
  • Advocating for solar customers in state-level conversations

In May 2017, Natick received SolSmart Bronze Designation and was awarded 285 points for its actions to-date. However, our ultimate goal is to achieve SolSmart Gold Certification – the highest level possible – as a signal to renewable energy companies that we are “open for business.” To reach this designation, the Town will be proposing changes to zoning bylaws to clarify solar development rights and restrictions, drafting considerations for active and passive solar in development regulations, and reviewing our solar permit fee structure to ensure it aligns with national best practices.





Please contact Jillian Wilson Martin, Natick’s Sustainability Coordinator, to learn more about our SolSmart commitment and actions. She can be reached by phone at 508-647-6555 or via email at jwmartin@natickma.org.