The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) and the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) today announced that 932 residents and businesses signed contracts to install solar electricity systems as part of the latest round of Solarize Massachusetts (Solarize Mass®), which concluded June 30.
The systems contracted through this round of Solarize Mass constitute 6.1 megawatts of homegrown, clean, renewable energy capacity that will generate enough electricity to power more than 900 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 in a community or partnership of communities.
“Since its inception, the Solarize Mass model has been a huge hit with residents and business owners across the state, with this round being the best yet,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Maeve Vallely Bartlett. “This program is a testament to what can happen when government, industry and dedicated volunteers work together.”
Started as a pilot program in 2011, Solarize Mass has been responsible for adding nearly than 2,450 solar systems across the state with 16 MW of electricity capacity, which represents enough greenhouse gas emission reductions to offset pollution from more than 1,500 cars.
The 15 communities participating in this round – Adams, Amherst, Andover, Bedford, Chesterfield, Egremont, Great Barrington, Lexington, Needham, Salem, Swampscott, Watertown, Wellfleet, Whately, Williamsburg – averaged 401 kW each, the highest average for any round of the program. Thirteen of the 15 communities reached Tier 5, which represents the greatest savings in the program.
“The sun is truly shining on these Solarize communities,” said MassCEC CEO Alicia Barton. “This program proves time and time again that sharing the environmental and economic benefits of solar electricity will truly drive adoption.”
“The success of Solarize Mass is further evidence that homeowners and businesses across Massachusetts are eager to embrace solar electricity. We will continue to work with individuals, cities, towns and businesses to make local, clean power accessible,” said DOER Acting Commissioner Meg Lusardi.
Preliminary results for contracts signed and capacity for participating communities are:
Adams: 18 systems 100 kilowatts
Amherst 174 systems 1,195 kilowatts
Andover 78 systems 654 kilowatts
Great Barrington-Egremont: 84 systems 546 kilowatts
Lexington-Bedford: 162 systems 1,136 kilowatts
Needham: 99 systems 729 kilowatts
Salem-Swampscott: 71 systems 401 kilowatts
Watertown: 28 systems 136 kilowatts
Wellfleet: 133 systems 656 kilowatts
Williamsburg/Whately/Chesterfield: 85 systems 589 kilowatts
Installers participating in this round of the program were RGS Energy, Northeast Solar Design Associates, Astrum Solar, Next Step Living, Cotuit Solar, E2 Solar and Blue Selenium Solar.
Amherst’s 174 systems and 1.2 MW of contracted capacity are both Solarize Mass records for an individual community.
“This is beyond our wildest expectations,” said Amherst Solar Coach Jeanette Tokarz, who organized outreach efforts among the town’s volunteers. “The Amherst residents have a very deep commitment to and enthusiasm toward green energy.”
“I am pleased, but frankly, not surprised that Amherst is among the leaders in our ongoing effort to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and imported energy,” State Senator Stan Rosenberg (D-Amherst) said. “All the communities participating in this outstanding program are blessed with what I like to call the gift of the environmentalist. That gift is a hopeful vision for a cleaner, more sustainable future for our children.”
“I’m not surprised that Amherst is at the top of the list in this effort. I am proud of the efforts of Amherst and the entire Solarize Mass program for these achievements,” said State Rep. Ellen Story, (D-Amherst). “I will continue to support bold expansions of renewable energy in the future.”