Free Solar in Massachusetts 0

Last year, a number of companies offered sweepstakes for free solar photovoltaic arrays to homeowners as part of spring and summer promotions. It looks like 2012 will hold the same and it appears that the first company out of the gate with a solar sweepstakes is Mercury Solar Systems, which is offering Massachusetts residents an opportunity to win an array up to 7 kilowatts.

It’s the first time that Mercury Solar has offered a solar sweepstakes, according to Matt Shortsleeve, a senior manager at Mercury Solar, who runs the company’s Massachusetts operations. It may be the first time such a sweepstakes was exclusive to Massachusetts as well. “We know other solar companies that have done multi-state sweepstakes that have covered Massachusetts. However, our sweepstakes is specific to Massachusetts,” he said.

Homeowners in Massachusetts can enter the sweepstakes between now and June 3 at It is a winner-take-all sweepstakes with just one prize. In the future, however, the company may consider offering runner-up prizes in future contests, according to Shortsleeve.

Whoever the lucky winner is, they’ll get a PV array up to 7 kilowatts, which will be able to provide most, if not all the electricity a home uses. “We didn’t want to preclude a local resident who has an excellent roof and that could accommodate a larger system,” Shortsleeve said.

If the winner has a smaller home, the array could provide 100 percent of the homeowner’s electric needs. “A 5 kilowatt system produces about 6,000 kilowatt hours a year so for an 1,800 square foot home the system should produce enough energy to meet 100 percent of the home’s electric needs,” Shortsleeve said. “If it’s a 7 kilowatt system it produces about 8,400 kilowatt hours a year so for a 2,500 square foot home the system should produce enough energy to meet about two-thirds of the home’s electric needs.”

Hopefully this is the first of many such sweepstakes this spring and summer. Last year companies including SunPower, Real Goods Solar and SunRun held contests or sweepstakes to give away an array.

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