Baker-Polito Administration Announces Seven Communities to Join State Clean Energy Program

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Kathryn Niforos
Solarize Mass Plus offers residents discounted clean energy technologies including solar and battery storage
Jul 29, 2019 –

The Baker-Polito Administration today announced that Belchertown, Nahant, Needham, North Adams, Salem, Swampscott, and Williamstown have been selected to participate in the 2019 Solarize Mass program to promote the adoption of clean energy technologies. A partnership between the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) and local communities, Solarize Mass reduces the overall cost of solar in municipalities across the state, helping residents save as much as 21 percent on average on solar pricing compared to the statewide average.

“Our administration is proud to continuing partnering with cities and towns across the Commonwealth to increase access to cost-effective clean energy technologies through the Solarize Mass program,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “This innovative partnership with municipalities and state agencies reinforces the Commonwealth’s growing clean energy sector, saves people money and reduces emissions.”

“Solarize Mass helps bring affordable clean energy technologies to residents and businesses across the Commonwealth,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “We look forward to working with these cities and towns to offer solar, battery storage and other clean energy technologies which will help lower energy bills for homeowners and diversify the Commonwealth’s energy portfolio.”

The Solarize Mass Plus program aims to increase the adoption of small-scale solar electricity systems and additional clean energy technologies such as battery storage, air source heat pumps, solar hot water, or electric vehicles through a grassroots educational campaign, driven mainly by local volunteers, and reduced pricing that increases the savings for participants as more units are sold. 

Since its launch in 2011, 75 cities and towns have participated in Solarize Mass and Solarize Mass Plus, which has led to the contracting of more than 3,400 new small-scale installations at homes and businesses resulting in 23 megawatts of contracted solar capacity. To date, systems installed under Solarize Mass have reduced greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to removing 1,900 cars off the road annually.

The participating communities will offer the following technologies:

  • Belchertown: solar
  • Needham: solar, air source heat pumps, electric vehicles
  • Salem-Swampscott-Nahant: solar, solar hot water, air source heat pumps
  • Williamstown-North Adams: solar, solar hot water, battery storage

For its program, Needham will partner with the Green Energy Consumers Alliance’s Drive Green program to offer electric vehicle rebates.

Through a competitive bidding process, communities select designated Solarize Mass installers that feature the most attractive pricing, outreach and community education packages. The Solarize Mass Plus program, first piloted in 2017, pairs the Solarize Mass model with an additional technology offering, such as solar hot water or air source heat pumps.

“Our goal is to create a clean, affordable and resilient energy future for our residents and that’s exactly what Solarize Mass achieves,” said Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Judith Judson. “Through this program, residents and business owners in these cities and town will have access to affordable clean energy options that will reduce emissions and their energy bills.”

“Solarize Mass Plus helps provide affordable pricing for solar, battery storage and other technologies to communities across Massachusetts,” said MassCEC CEO Stephen Pike. “Increasing access to renewable technologies at an affordable price will help homeowners take advantage of the numerous benefits clean energy provides, and we look forward to seeing the success of these campaigns.”

Massachusetts currently has 2,418 megawatts of solar capacity installed statewide, enough to power more than 382,000 homes.

“Transportation is the largest source of carbon emissions in Massachusetts, so we are thrilled to be working with Needham to pair these two clean energy technologies – solar and electric vehicles – for the benefit of Solarize participants, our electric grid, clean air, and a livable climate," said Green Energy Consumers Alliance Electric Vehicle Program Director Anna Vanderspek.

“I applaud the innovation in Williamstown that has led to this successful partnership with the Solarize Mass Plus Program,” said State Senator Adam G. Hinds (D- Pittsfield).  “I am proud to recognize that the first community in Massachusetts to offer its residents discounted battery storage systems, solar photovoltaic and solar hot water systems is located in the Berkshires.”

“The selection of Nahant and Swampscott to participate in the Solarize Mass Plus program by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center is great news, as it will allow residents to save money on solar pricing while fostering the growth of clean energy technologies in the Commonwealth,” said State Senator Brendan Crighton (D-Lynn).

"All levels of government need to do more to combat climate change," said State Senator Joan Lovely (D-Salem).  "Thanks to MassCEC and DOER for selecting Salem and six other communities so that they can increase their usage of solar, a cost-effective and green means of energy generation.”

“I am really proud of Swampscott for proactively focusing on reducing carbon emissions and increasing efficiency. This partnership with the state through MassCEC and DOER will help us do, both at a reduced cost,” said State Representative Lori Ehrlich (D-Marblehead). “Both solar options and renewable thermal options, like heat pumps will go a long way to reducing our impact on the planet and making us more efficient at the same time. It is all upside."