Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan today announced the 15 communities that will participate in the second round of the 2013 Solarize Massachusetts program (Solarize Mass®), a grassroots solar energy marketing, education and group-buying program.
The program – run 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 popularity of Solarize Mass highlights the growing interest in renewable energy across the state,” said Secretary Sullivan. “Programs like Solarize Mass allow people across Massachusetts to join the clean energy revolution right at their own homes and businesses, while creating local jobs here in the Commonwealth.”
Participating in the second round of the 2013 Solarize Mass program are Adams, Amherst, Andover, Bedford, Chesterfield, Egremont, Great Barrington, Lexington, Needham, Salem, Swampscott, Watertown, Wellfleet, Whately and Williamsburg. Great Barrington will be partnering with Egremont; Salem will be partnering with Swampscott; Lexington will be partnering with Bedford; and Williamsburg, Whately and Chesterfield will be working as a group during the program.
“Solarize Mass has been a rallying point for all the 31 communities that have participated so far, and I’m excited to see what these 15 new communities can do,” said MassCEC CEO Alicia Barton.
“Solarize Mass results have proven that the program is an effective model for bringing clean, cost-saving energy to residents and businesses in participating communities,” said Commissioner Sylvia. “I congratulate these 15 communities and look forward to continuing our support for all communities in the Commonwealth as they pursue renewable energy.”
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.
Ten of the communities participating in this round (Amherst, Andover, Bedford, Chesterfield, Great Barrington, Lexington, Salem, Swampscott, Watertown and Whatley) are Green Communities, 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 photovoltaics.
Residents and businesses in the 10 communities that participated in the first round of the 2013 Solarize Mass program combined to sign 551 contracts to install solar electricity systems, constituting 3.8 megawatts of clean, renewable energy capacity – enough to power 570 homes annually. Since the program’s inception in 2011, Solarize Mass has been responsible for more than 1,250 solar installations across the state – a total of 9.4MW of electricity capacity.
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 based on solar renewable energy certificates (SRECs) – 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 installed solar capacity by 2020, which is enough electricity to power 240,000 average Massachusetts homes.
The solar industry in Massachusetts is a large part of the state’s clean energy economy. According to the 2013 Massachusetts Clean Energy Industry Report, nearly 60 percent of clean energy workers support solar technologies – more than 8,400 workers spend at least 50 percent of their time on the solar portion of their business.