Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Maeve Vallely Bartlett today announced that the communities of Provincetown, Quincy, Plainfield, Ashfield and Buckland will participate in the latest round of Solarize Massachusetts (Solarize Mass®), a grassroots solar energy marketing, education and group-buying program.
Secretary Bartlett also announced that Mass Energy, a non-profit group comprised of 20,000 members, will participate in the inaugural round of Mass Solar Connect, a program similar to Solarize Mass, but focused on driving solar adoption among members of non-profit organizations.
“The more people learn about the economic and environmental benefits of solar energy, the more excited they are to adopt the technology at their homes and businesses,” said Secretary Bartlett. “Governor Patrick’s policies are driving clean energy adoption and creating local jobs across the Commonwealth, these programs are helping more communities and organizations to participate.”
Solarize Mass – administered by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) and the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) – is designed to increase the adoption of solar energy across the state, while reducing the overall cost of solar power and offering residents and businesses discounted pricing for solar systems. The program lowers energy costs by offering residents a five-tiered pricing structure, where the savings increase as more people sign contracts.
The five communities participating in this round of Solarize Mass are Provincetown, Quincy, Plainfield, Ashfield and Buckland, with the latter three participating as a group.
“Solarize Mass has been a driving force for solar adoption in participating communities over the years,” said MassCEC CEO Alicia Barton. “I’m sure these five communities will add to this history of success.”
“Thanks to the Governor Patrick’s leadership, Massachusetts is leading the nation in solar energy. With more than 16,000 solar installations – a more than twenty-fold increase from 2008 – every corner of the Commonwealth is taking their energy future into their own hands by investing in solar, creating jobs and reducing emissions along the way,” said DOER Commissioner Meg Lusardi.
Four of the five communities are Green Communities (Ashfield, Buckland, Provincetown and Quincy) – a designation made by DOER to cities and towns that meet five clean energy requirements, including a commitment to reduce energy use by 20 percent within five years as well as a streamlined process of responsible siting of renewable energy such as solar electricity.
MassCEC and DOER will work with community volunteers and municipal representatives from each community to select a designated solar installer through a competitive bidding process.
Since the program’s inception in 2011, Solarize Mass has been responsible for more than 2,400 solar contracts in 46 communities across the state which amounts to 16 total megawatts of electricity capacity.
A new program administered by MassCEC, Mass Solar Connect, will capitalize on the success of Solarize Mass by bringing the education and group-buying benefits to members of non-profit organizations, regardless of the members’ geographic location. MassCEC will work with the non-profit to select a designated installer or group of installers through a competitive bidding process.
“Mass Energy Consumers Alliance really believes in the group purchasing model. We used it successfully on solar energy over 10 years ago, but the Solar Connect program has many great features and now is a perfect time to go solar,” said Larry Chretien, Executive Director of Mass Energy. “We are excited to be working with the Mass Clean Energy Center and solar companies to deliver an excellent deal for our members.”
The solar industry is booming in Massachusetts, with the Commonwealth meeting 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 installed solar capacity by 2020, and the Commonwealth is well on its way to meeting this mark, with more than 680 megawatts already installed – enough to power more than 100,000 average Massachusetts homes.
In addition to reducing the Commonwealth’s dependence on dirty fossil fuels, the solar industry is also creating thousands of local jobs, with more than 12,000 people already employed in the growing sector, according to the 2014 Massachusetts Clean Energy Industry Report.