MassCEC Launches Solarize Massachusetts Program to Spur Solar Development

Feb 15, 2012 –
Boston

As part of a statewide effort to reach Governor Patrick's goal of 250 megawatts (MW) of solar power installed by 2017, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) today launched the second round of its Solarize Massachusetts (Solarize Mass) program. MassCEC is now accepting applications from designated Green Communities interested in participating in Solarize Mass, which encourages residents and business owners to adopt solar photovoltaic (PV) technology through a program model that includes grassroots marketing, education and group purchasing.

“Today you’ll find solar projects in 328 out of our 351 cities and towns. This growth is not by accident, its happened under the leadership of Governor Patrick through a suite of policies and programs designed to grow the state’s solar business sector and put the cost of solar power within the reach of more people than ever before,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr., who chairs MassCEC’s board of directors and whose office includes DOER. “Solarize Massachusetts will take these efforts to a new level, catalyzing wider adoption of solar energy and greater energy independence through the power of community connections.”

The Solarize Mass Pilot, which launched in the spring of 2011, deployed a grassroots, volunteer-driven effort that is bringing solar power to 162 Massachusetts homes at discounted rates. By utilizing grassroots organizing, civic engagement, bulk purchasing, and educational outreach, the towns of Harvard, Hatfield, Scituate and Winchester helped their communities install a total of 829 kW of solar energy. The solar capacity installed through the Solarize Mass Pilot will save 651 metric tons of CO2 annually. During their lifetimes, these PV systems will save over 13,000 metric tons of CO2, equivalent to the emissions of more than 2,500 cars.

“Solarize Mass was incredibly successful in the first four towns and is empowering residents to drive growth of solar in their own communities, while helping us reach Governor Patrick’s solar energy goals,” said MassCEC Chief Executive Officer Patrick Cloney, “By spurring engagement and encouraging neighbor-to-neighbor advocacy for solar energy education and adoption, we look forward to helping more communities across Massachusetts become vibrant solar towns.”

MassCEC, in partnership with the Green Communities Division of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) today launched the second iteration of Solarize Mass. MassCEC and DOER will select at least ten communities to participate. Selected communities will be announced in mid March. MassCEC will then issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) for bulk purchasing business models from solar integrators in which installation costs are based on a tiered structure that provide lower costs with increased capacity of solar installed within the community. For each of the Solarize Mass communities, the chosen installer will partner with MassCEC and the community to provide free solar site assessments, different ownership (or financing) models, and installation services.

MassCEC will provide education and marketing support to help the selected communities implement a community-wide solar PV program for residential and small-scale commercial projects. MassCEC will provide technical support and host free educational meetings in the communities to educate people about the benefits of installing solar and to drive interest in implementing the technology.

On February 27 MassCEC will hold a bidder’s conference for green communities interested in applying to Solarize Mass. The bidder’s conference will take place at Volunteers Hall at the Harvard Library at 4 Pond Road in Harvard at 2:00 p.m. and will also be broadcast via webinar. Communities interested in applying should participate to learn more about the program, hear from the communities that participated in the first Solarize Mass pilot, and to get their questions answered by Solarize Mass staff.

Click here to download the Solarize Mass RFP to Green Communities.

To register for the webinar visit: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/410326122

To RSVP for the live meeting email your contact information to solarize@masscec.com  

“It is exciting to see this program extend to more of our Green Communities, which are already leading the way in Massachusetts with their commitments to energy reduction and development of clean energy technologies,” DOER Commissioner Mark Sylvia said.  “Solarize Massachusetts provides another opportunity for cities and towns to strengthen their commitment to a cleaner energy future.”

As a result of the Commonwealth Solar rebate programs launched in 2008 and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding for solar on water treatment facilities and other public buildings, Massachusetts saw a more than 20-fold increase in solar PV installations between 2007 and 2011. Currently, there are nearly 77 MW of solar energy installed in Massachusetts, and an additional 40 MW under contract for installation, up from 3.5 MW when Governor Patrick took office.

The Commonwealth Solar rebate programs also helped spur a vibrant solar industry in Massachusetts. Overall, clean energy jobs are growing in Massachusetts according to the 2011 Massachusetts Clean Energy Industry Report, which finds a total of 4,909 clean energy businesses in Massachusetts that employ more than 64,000 workers. These companies reported a 6.7 percent job growth rate from July 2010 to July 2011. Solar energy is the most prominent renewable energy technology area for Massachusetts clean energy companies, with more than two in three renewable energy employers working with solar energy technologies.