Massachusetts Clean Energy Incentive Program Contracts 802 Solar Projects

Nov 8, 2012 –
BOSTON

Solarize Mass created 32 jobs, 5.1 megawatts, Southwick’s Zoo among projects

The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) and the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) today announced that 802 residents and businesses signed contracts to install solar electricity systems as part of the 2012 Solarize Massachusetts Program (Solarize Mass), which concluded Nov. 4.

The systems contracted through Solarize Mass constitute 5.1 megawatts of clean, renewable energy that will generate enough electricity to power 807 Massachusetts homes annually. The program also created 32 jobs, fueling an already expanding clean energy sector. 

“The response to Solarize Mass this year was incredible,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan. “Together with industry, government and the community at the table, this program helped hundreds of residents and businesses across the Commonwealth generate reliable, local sources of energy, while saving money in the process.”

The group buying program, designed to increase the adoption of solar energy and reduce its cost, offered residents and businesses discounted pricing for solar. The more people sign up, the lower the price drops.

“Others are duplicating this innovative program, which empowers communities to advocate for and take advantage of cost-effective, clean and local sources of energy for residents and businesses,” said MassCEC CEO Alicia Barton McDevitt. “Saving money while avoiding the environmental and public health impacts of fossil-fuel based generation is an absolute win-win for the economy and the environment.”

This year, 17 communities – Acton, Arlington, Boston, Hopkinton, Lenox, Lincoln, Melrose, Mendon, Millbury, Montague, Newburyport, Palmer, Pittsfield, Shirley, Sudbury, Sutton and Wayland – participated in Solarize Mass, which encourages the adoption of small scale solar PV systems by allowing residents and businesses to access a five-tiered, bulk purchasing program in their communities. The communities are all Green Communities, a designation made by the Department of Energy Resources to communities that meet five clean energy requirements, including a commitment to reduce their energy use by 20 percent.

“Thanks to these leading Green Communities, affordable solar energy is available on Main Streets across Massachusetts,” said DOER Commissioner Mark Sylvia.

Arlington was the single community with the most contracts signed for the largest capacity, with 157 residents and businesses signing contracts for an expected generation of 718 kilowatts.

Contracts signed and capacity for other communities was:

Acton

36 systems                 

188 kilowatts

Arlington

718 kilowatts

157 systems 

Boston

116 systems               

522 kilowatts

Hopkinton

56 systems                 

368 kilowatts

Pittsfield/Lenox

58 systems                 

465 kilowatts

Lincoln, Wayland/Sudbury

137 systems

1.28 megawatts

Melrose

79 systems                 

426 kilowatts

Mendon

22 systems                 

171 kilowatts

Millbury/Sutton

22 systems                 

165 kilowatts

Montague

42 systems                 

180 kilowatts

Newburyport

46 systems                 

423 kilowatts

Palmer

17 systems                 

150 kilowatts

Shirley

14 systems                 

70 kilowatts

Among the projects contracted as part of Solarize Mass this year is an 11.5 kilowatt system on the roof of the Southwick’s Zoo Gift Shop in Mendon.

"We're thrilled to take part in the Solarize Massachusetts program," said Southwick's Zoo Curator of Conservation and Education Betsey Brewer. "Having the solar panels in such a visible location will help us fulfill our mission of conservation, research and education."

“The Southwick’s Zoo project is one example of the way solar energy can be adopted across the Commonwealth,” said Matt Arner, president of SolarFlair, the Framingham-based company that will install the system. “We’re excited to take part in this project, which we hope will increase awareness of the solar potential here in Massachusetts.”

The installers participating in the Solarize Mass program – Astrum Solar, New England Clean Energy, Next Step Living with Roof Diagnostics, Northeast Solar Design Associates, Second Generation Energy, SolarCity, SolarFlair and SunBug Solar – hired 32 employees as a direct result of the Solarize Mass program, with more hires expected during the installation process.

Clean energy jobs in Massachusetts have grown by 11.2 percent from 2011 to 2012, according to the 2012 Massachusetts Clean Energy Industry Report.

Under the leadership of Governor Deval Patrick, Massachusetts set a goal of achieving 250 megawatts of solar PV by 2017. As a result of the Solarize Mass program and other incentives, the state is more than halfway to its goal – with 174 megawatts of solar PV installed to date (not including the Solarize Mass commitments), the equivalent of powering 27,521 homes for a year or cutting the emissions equivalent to taking 18,708 cars of the road.

Massachusetts lies at the end of the energy pipeline – lacking indigenous supplies of coal, natural gas and oil. As a result, Massachusetts has some of the highest energy costs in the nation. Of the $22 billion Massachusetts spends annually on energy, $18 billion of that goes to out-of-state and foreign sources. Increasingly, the state’s base of renewable energy through programs like Solarize Mass keeps more of that money in the local economy, while creating jobs at the same time.