Patrick-Murray Administration Announces Solar Program Benefiting 17 Massachusetts Communities
As part of the effort to reach Governor Patrick's goal of 250 megawatts (MW) of solar power installed by 2017, Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr. today announced the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) and the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) selected 17 communities to participate in the 2012 Solarize Massachusetts (Solarize Mass) Program, which helps residents and business owners adopt solar photovoltaic (PV) technology.
“This month we reached 100 megawatts of installed solar, which is being used in 331 cities and towns across the state,” said Secretary Sullivan. “This program will help us achieve our renewable energy goals even faster, bring local clean energy jobs to our communities and stabilize our energy costs.”
Solarize Mass is a program that encourages the adoption of small scale solar PV by deploying a coordinated education, marketing and outreach effort, combined with a tiered pricing structure that provides increased savings as more people in the community go solar.
MassCEC, in partnership with the DOER’s Green Communities Division has selected the cities and towns of Acton, Arlington, Boston, Hopkinton, Melrose, Mendon, Millbury, Montague, Newburyport, Palmer, Pittsfield, Lenox, Shirley, Sutton, Wayland, Sudbury and Lincoln, to participate in Solarize Mass.
“By combining education and grassroots marketing with tiered pricing of solar PV Solarize Mass was able to help 162 residents go solar in 2011,” said MassCEC Chief Executive Officer Patrick Cloney. “By extending this program to 17 communities, we are confident that we can help more people in the Commonwealth use solar energy to help manage their energy costs and create a cleaner energy future.”
“These communities are leading the way in clean energy adoption and we’re pleased to honor them today for their effort to take their energy future into their own hands by investing in local sources of energy,” said DOER Commissioner Mark Sylvia.
Through Solarize Mass, MassCEC will provide education and marketing support to help the 17 communities implement a community-wide solar PV program for small-scale solar projects. MassCEC will provide technical support and host free educational meetings in the pilot communities to educate people about the benefits of installing solar and to drive interest in implementing the technology. MassCEC will also issue Request for Proposals (RFP) from solar integrators for bulk purchasing business models in which solar installation costs are based on a tiered structure that provide lower costs with increased capacity of solar installed within the community.
“I am thrilled that Pittsfield and Lenox were selected to participate in the 2012 Solarize Massachusetts program,” said Sen. Benjamin B. Downing, co-chair of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy. “This program will help spread the use of clean energy and reduce these communities’ dependence on fossil fuels, in the most cost effective way.”
For more information about Solarize Mass visit www.SolarizeMass.com.
As a result of the Commonwealth Solar rebate programs launched in 2008, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding for solar on water treatment facilities and other public buildings, and Solarize Mass, the state has seen a nearly 30-fold increase in solar PV installations since 2007. Currently, there are more than 100 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.
Massachusetts lies at the end of the energy pipeline – lacking indigenous supplies of coal, natural gas, and oil. As a result, we have some of the highest energy costs in the nation. Of the $22 billion Massachusetts spends annually to buy the energy that runs our power plants, buildings and vehicles, 80 percent flows out of state to purchase coal from Colombia, oil from Venezuela, and natural gas and oil from the Middle East and Canada. That’s nearly $18 billion in lost economic opportunity that Massachusetts is reclaiming through investments in home-grown renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Programs like this one and others that stem from the Green Communities Act of 2008 have helped grow the state’s clean energy economy. These policies cut energy costs, protect our environment and create jobs. We’re cultivating a clean energy economy that’s grown by 6.7 percent to employ 64,000 clean energy workers in Massachusetts.