New Multi-Year Incentive Program for Solar Hot Water
The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) today announced a new $10 million multi-year program, Commonwealth Solar Hot Water, which will begin accepting applications in July 2012 and continue through 2016. The long-term program is designed to encourage the installation of solar hot water systems at residences and businesses across the Commonwealth.
“This program represents a significant long-term investment that will accelerate the growth of Massachusetts’ solar hot water industry by providing a stable form of funding assistance to residents and companies looking to utilize the sun’s power and save money on energy bills,” said MassCEC Chief Executive Officer Patrick Cloney.
The program will build on the success of two pilot solar hot water programs, which have awarded rebates for 300 residential and commercial-scale systems since February 2011. Similar to the pilot programs, the new Commonwealth Solar Hot Water Program will offer rebates for qualifying solar hot water projects at residential, multi-family and commercial-scale buildings.
“This new solar hot water program will create jobs at solar hot water manufacturing and installation companies, while helping Massachusetts residents and businesses decrease their heating costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Rick Sullivan, who chairs the MassCEC Board of Directors.
Solar hot water systems generate thermal energy from sunlight to heat water. Roof mounted solar collectors for hot water systems look similar to solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, which generate electricity rather than hot water. A solar hot water system usually provides 50 percent to 75 percent of total household hot water needs. Some systems can also connect with the heating system to provide space heating. Since roughly 20 percent of the energy consumed by a typical home in Massachusetts goes to heating hot water, solar hot water systems can generate significant savings by decreasing the amount of gas, oil or electricity used to heat the water.
Program funding will be distributed over 4.5 years, through the end of 2016. The first year of the Commonwealth Solar Hot Water program will be funded with $1.5 million from MassCEC’s Renewable Energy Trust Fund.
To date, the completed projects that MassCEC has funded through the Commonwealth Solar Hot Water Residential and Commercial Pilot Programs total almost 15,000 square feet of solar collectors, and produce energy equivalent to the total annual hot water needs of 140 homes. A total of 55 primary installers have successfully submitted an application through the program.
To find out more about solar hot water, see www.masscec.com/aboutsolar . Program information for MassCEC’s existing hot water pilot programs is available www.masscec.com/solarhotwater.