As part of the Patrick Administration’s support of the clean energy industry, Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) CEO Alicia Barton and the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) Commissioner Mark Sylvia today announced that 551 residents and businesses signed contracts to install solar electricity systems as part of the first round of the 2013 Solarize Massachusetts program (Solarize Mass®), which concluded October 31.
The systems contracted through this round of Solarize Mass constitute 3.8 megawatts of clean, renewable energy capacity that will generate enough electricity to power 570 average Massachusetts homes annually. The program lowers costs by offering consumers a five-tiered pricing structure, where the savings increase as more people sign contacts.
“For the third year in a row, we’ve seen tremendous response to the Solarize Mass model, with this year being the best yet,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan. “This program truly shows what can happen when you bring together government, industry and dedicated volunteers, united to tackle a challenging goal.”
Since it started as a pilot program in 2011, Solarize Mass has been responsible for more than 1,250 solar systems across the state with 9.4MW of electricity capacity. The communities participating in this round – Bourne, Brookline, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Lee, Medford, Medway, Newton, Northampton and Williamstown – averaged 383kw each, the highest average for any round of the program. Nine of the 10 communities reached Tier 5, which represents the greatest savings in the program.
“We’re positively beaming at the results of this year’s Solarize Mass program,” said Barton. “It once again shows that when residents and business owners learn about the economic and environmental benefits of clean energy, they can’t wait to sign up.”
“These results show that Solarize Mass is an effective model for bringing clean, cost-saving energy to residents and businesses in these communities,” said Commissioner Sylvia. “We look forward to continuing our support for all communities in the Commonwealth as they pursue renewable energy.”
Preliminary results for contracts signed and capacity for participating communities was:
Bourne: 21 systems 137 kilowatts
Brookline: 63 systems 346 kilowatts
Chelmsford-Carlisle: 96 systems 612 kilowatts
Lee: 36 systems 294 kilowatts
Medford: 48 systems 388 kilowatts
Medway: 39 systems 489 kilowatts
Newton: 64 systems 309 kilowatts
Northampton: 108 systems 706 kilowatts
Williamstown: 76 systems 559 kilowatts
Among the projects contracted as part of Solarize Mass this year is a 99 kilowatt solar electricity system on the roof of seven-story Dowling Hall, which houses a parking garage and a variety of student and administrative services at Tufts University in Medford.
"As a university, we have a special role in helping address important global issues such as climate change and resource depletion and a responsibility to use our campus as a learning laboratory,” Tufts President Anthony P. Monaco. We are proud to work with the City of Medford, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and the Department of Energy Resources in support of sustainability."
"Medford started the Solarize program with 50 solar systems already installed; to practically double that number far exceeded our expectations,” said Medford Mayor Michael J. McGlynn “We are thrilled that Tufts is installing roof-top solar through this program. Medford and Tufts have a long, mutually beneficial relationship and we are excited to take this next step to a clean energy future together."
“SunBug Solar is ecstatic to be able to work with Tufts University as part of the Solarize Mass program in Medford,” said Lisa Raffin, the solar installation company’s vice president for corporate business. “This is the true definition of community solar when we see a prominent university and 47 Medford residents linked together to share the benefits of solar electricity.”
Other installers participating in this round of the program were Cotuit Solar, E2 Solar, Real Goods Solar, Second Generation Energy and SolarFlair
MassCEC and DOER are currently reviewing community applications for the second round of the 2013 Solarize Mass program.
Over the past five years, the Patrick Administration has created a suite of programs – like Solarize Mass, Commonwealth Solar rebates, and Massachusetts’ nation-leading solar carve-out, a market-based incentive program – to drive solar development and cultivate a robust solar marketplace. As a result of these efforts, Massachusetts met Governor Patrick’s ambitious goal of installing 250 megawatts of solar electricity capacity by 2017 four years early. Governor Patrick set a new goal of 1,600 megawatts of solar capacity by 2020, which is enough electricity to power 240,000 average Massachusetts homes.
In addition to the success of Solarize Mass, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) this week announced $1.5 million in SunShot Rooftop Solar Challenge II funding for a regional effort to lower solar costs and increase regional collaboration for solar electricity across New England. As the program seeks to reduce barriers to solar development, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont and New Hampshire will collectively work together to develop solutions to permitting, interconnection, financing, planning and zoning challenges. The national nonprofit organization Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA) will coordinate the initiatives. Led by DOER in partnership with MassCEC, the Massachusetts-based program will feature the participation of the cities of Boston and Cambridge and the town of Winchester.
More than 8,400 Massachusetts workers spend at least half of their time on solar activities in the Commonwealth, according to the 2013 Massachusetts Clean Energy Industry Report.
The report found that the clean energy industry as a whole grew by 11.8 percent between 2012 and 2013, and there are now more than 5,550 clean energy firms and 80,000 clean energy workers in the Commonwealth.