Putting (a little of) his money where his mouth is, Boston, Massachusetts Mayor Thomas M. Menino is installing solar panels on his own home.

The outspoken but much-loved Mayor has been a staunch proponent of energy efficiency and alternative energy and decided that if he was going to ask his constituents to go green at home then he should do the same. “If I’m the mayor of Boston, I should be participating also,” he said to The Boston Globe. “We’re making sure we’re leading by example.”

By utilizing the state’s Solarize Massachusetts program that makes it cheaper for residents to use solar, the Mayor will publicize the program and encourage other Boston residents and developers to investigate the feasibility of installing solar on their own homes. Menino will pay just $500 out of pocket to install some 16 panels on his family’s house, enough to generate 5,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity each year. The remainder of the costs are offset by state and federal tax credits and the company doing the installation.

In exchange for covering some of the costs, installer SolarCity will have a 20-year contract with the Meninos to provide electricity to the house. The price is set at 12 cents a kilowatt-hour, which is slightly less than the local utility charges. The Meninos should see an electricity bill savings of nearly $8,000 over the course of the 20 year contract.

“It’ll reduce cost of energy for our home, and it’s part of the clean air efforts in Boston,” said Menino.

It’s very easy for our elected officials to preach from the pulpit what we should be doing, but it’s harder for some of them to lead by example. Mayor Menino has stepped up to the plate to do the very thing he asks of others, in hopes that it will inform the public about options for renewable energy they may not know about. And while he didn’t spend much of his own money on his panels, it just goes to show you that state and federal tax credits work to substantially bring down costs to a level that most people could afford.

[via The Boston Globe]

Image Credit: Dan4th/Flickr