Wayne (home shown in figure 4), another Housing Nantucket tenant, talked about how he liked knowing that the power produced by their unit would go towards assisting other Housing Nantucket Tenants. To quote Wayne: “It’s a commendable model, and I like that we are able to contribute towards a greater good.”
Challenges & Opportunities
Clearly, the Revolving Clean Energy Fund has had a meaningful and largely positive impact on the participants in the program. However, projects such as these are not without their challenges. The Project Team has faced challenges with obtaining building approvals. In addition, the Project Team spoke about the initial hurdles of developing the financial model of an innovative project such as this.
For solutions, the Project Team, specifically Housing Nantucket, turned to the Nantucket community for assistance. Support from the ReMain Nantucket Fund and MassCEC, as well as donors to Housing Nantucket’s Community Investment Tax Credit program, have allowed Housing Nantucket to minimize financial hardship for its tenants while generating income for the organization.
Having the ability to purchase the solar panels outright, rather than entering into a long-term power purchase arrangement with a third-party, allowed Housing Nantucket to capitalize on the long-term financial benefits of the state’s solar incentive program known as the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) Program.
Income generated from the sale of renewable energy credits in the secondary market will go into a revolving clean energy fund, which will fund solar panels at additional units. Most importantly, this project allows Housing Nantucket to contribute to wider solar acceptance and usage on the island by expanding renewable energy as a viable solution for the island community.
Alongside support from the EmPower Team and their partners, Housing Nantucket was able to answer these challenges and, based on the success of the first round of the Revolving Clean Energy Fund, plans to continue implementing their project in Nantucket.
This approach demonstrates the necessity, as has been discussed in previous blogs by the EmPower Mass Team, for building networks as a mechanism for ensuring the success of projects that can provide access to the benefits of clean energy to vulnerable communities within the Commonwealth; as well as the provision of additional benefits, such as the economic relief associated with the reduction of energy bill costs for Housing Nantucket tenants.
In the News
The EmPower Team would also like to share with you exciting news coverage for the first round of the Revolving Clean Energy Fund. The program has been published in local news outlets, such as the Cape Cod Times, and the Inquirer and Mirror, and e-newsletters like Nantucket Current and Daybreak Nantucket; as well as being featured in radio profiles on local station ACK-FM.
The next steps for the Project Team are to create a Revolving Clean Energy Fund Project Model Report. In this report, the Project Team will discuss project results and metrics to date and the process for the development of the Revolving Clean Energy Fund.
To conclude, the EmPower Team is looking forward to seeing (and hearing) updates on the continued efforts of the Project Team to bring solar PV technology to the island as they work towards reducing energy burden and increasing the benefits of clean energy access to Housing Nantucket residents.
What’s coming next? Look out for more blog posts highlighting the progress and experiences of our awardees and their projects.
Do you have thoughts on what else you’d like to see MassCEC do with the EmPower Massachusetts Program? We encourage readers to reach out to our team with questions, suggestions, or to be added to our EmPower email list. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.