Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) Interim CEO Stephen Pike today announced that 399 homeowners and businesses across the Commonwealth have signed contracts for solar electric systems under Solarize Mass and Mass Solar Connect, a pair of programs aimed at increasing solar adoption in Massachusetts.
“Programs like these make solar electricity more affordable for home and business owners across the Commonwealth, while helping Massachusetts diversify its energy portfolio,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “The Baker-Polito Administration remains committed to working with municipalities to reduce our carbon footprint and reach our goal of 1,600 megawatts of solar by 2020.”
The 2015 Solarize Massachusetts programs in Quincy and Provincetown concluded Aug. 31 with 138 home and business owners in the communities signing contracts for solar electric systems.
The program, a joint effort between MassCEC, the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) and local communities, drives down the price of solar electricity through an education campaign and a tiered pricing structure that sees savings go up as more contracts are signed.
Quincy was responsible for 110 contracts, while Provincetown signed 28 contracts and both more than doubled the number of solar electric systems in their communities during the program.
Also concluding Aug. 31 was the inaugural round of MassCEC’s Mass Solar Connect program, a program that partners with a local non-profit – Mass Energy Consumers Alliance (Mass Energy) – to increase awareness and outreach about solar electricity, while reducing the cost for group members to install solar. As part of the program, Mass Energy members and its affiliated groups (including Mass Audubon) signed 261 contracts for systems that will add 1.9 megawatts of solar electric capacity statewide.
“As people learn more about the benefits of solar energy, they’re eager to install systems at their homes and businesses,” saidInterim CEO Pike. “We’re pleased to see so many contracts signed under these innovative programs that continue to demonstrate the power of education in driving clean energy progress.”
“What makes these accomplishments especially powerful is that they’re the result of tapping trusted relationships within communities and affiliate groups,” said DOER Commissioner Judith Judson. “Solarize Mass and Mass Solar Connect are helping increase local solar adoption, supporting the Baker-Polito Administration’s commitment to encouraging solar development and meeting the goals of the Global Warming Solutions Act.”
Since its launch in 2011, 51 cities and towns have participated in Solarize Mass, which has led to more than 2,500 home and business owners signing contracts for solar electric systems, generating a total of 17 megawatts of electric capacity, enough to power 2,588 homes. Together, these systems are reducing greenhouse gas pollution equal to removing 1,500 cars from the road every year.
The program remains active in the Western Massachusetts towns of Plainfield, Ashfield and Buckland.
MassCEC and DOER recently began accepting applications from communities interested in participating in the next round of the Solarize Mass program. More information on the application process can be found here.
“When the program first started, we were excited to be able to offer to our members and affiliates solar electric installations as an affordable, accessible clean energy option,” said Eugenia Gibbons, clean energy program director at Mass Energy. “These installations will go a long way to help our members reduce their greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050, a goal that our organization has embraced.”
“This will greatly reduce electricity costs for the participants, and will also importantly, have a strong positive effect in reducing greenhouse gas emissions that would have been generated had the electricity been generated using fossil fuels,” said Shelly Dein, Quincy’s energy and sustainability director. “By switching to solar power, Quincy residents are taking a step to slow climate change.”
“We’re grateful to our partners for helping us make Solarize Provincetown a huge success,” said Austin Brandt, Provincetown’s energy manager and conservation agent. “The program nearly tripled the amount of solar power in Provincetown, and is a big step in Provincetown’s goal of becoming a more sustainable community.”
Massachusetts currently has 923 megawatts of solar capacity installed statewide, more than halfway to the Commonwealth’s goal of 1,600 megawatts installed by 2020 and enough to power more than 140,000 homes.