If you have ever wondered whether investing in a solar photovoltaic (PV) system would make sense or how to offset the installation cost, mark the date of February 5 on your calendar. The next edition of Lexington GWAC’s Home Energy Efficiency Series entitled “Solar Panel Installations for Homes and Businesses” will be taking place that evening at 7 pm in the Cary Library meeting room.

Representatives from both the Mass. Technology Collaborative (MTC) and the solar energy industry will be offering a joint presentation covering basic installation questions for residential and small business applications as well as a review of the rebates and other financing subsidies available through the state’s new Commonwealth Solar Initiative program.

The Patrick administration has placed a priority on accelerating the pace of solar electric PV installations here in the Commonwealth. Providing the PV industry with assurances that a predictable set of PV incentives will be in place for several years is the aim of this new program. This $68 million Commonwealth Solar Initiative program offers rebates of up to one half the installation cost of a typical residential-sized installation, or a maximum of $1 million for a small commercial installation. With the rebates available under this new program it is estimated that homeowners and small businesses could save enough on their electrical bills to pay off the net cost of installing solar PV panels within five to eight years and then reap thousands of dollars in savings from that point forward.

Joining a representative from MTC for this evening will be Borrego Solar’s Brendan Neagle who will answer questions about installing solar PV panels for both residential and small business applications. With the possibility of paying off the investment in such systems in as little as five to eight years, the decision to make such an investment becomes comparable in scale to that required to purchase a new automobile. And as former Lexingtonian Bill McKibben once pointed out, we as individuals invest $20-30,000 in purchasing a new automobile, which has no possibility of ever offering a payback. This makes the decision to install a comparably priced solar PV system with the promise of eventually saving the homeowner thousands of dollars in electricity costs over the lifetime of the installation a very reasonable investment.

As the second offering in GWAC’s Home Energy Efficiency series, this presentation continues the theme of providing Lexington residents with the best available information for considering the longer-term investments that are involved in developing a more energy efficient lifestyle. Homeowners and small business owners alike are encouraged to attend this informative evening.

Additional offerings in this series will include a workshop on “Residential Solar Hot Water and Wind Power” scheduled for March 10 and a presentation on April 1 on “Reducing Household Waste”. All events take place at 7 pm in the Cary Library meeting room.

And be sure to mark your calendars for February 24! We are excited to announce that Lester Brown, President of the Earth Policy Institute and cited by the Washington Post as “one of the world’s most influential thinkers”, will speak at Cary Hall at 7:30 PM on his new book, Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization. Lexington’s own E.O. Wilson calls Lester Brown “…one of the pioneers and heroes of global environmentalism. If the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize had been extended to a third recipient, the logical candidate would have been Lester Brown.” So don’t miss this rare opportunity to hear from one of the world’s leading voices share his thoughts on how the world should be dealing with the threat posed by the dangers of rapid climate change.

Brought to you by Lexington Global Warming Action Coalition. Visit our website at www.lexgwac.org.

Snow date Feb. 7.