Massachusetts Program Targets Solar Development in Local Communities

Seventeen Massachusetts communities have been selected to participate in the 2012 Solarize Mass Program, which helps residents and business owners adopt solar photovoltaic (PV) technology. The program aims to assist the state in reaching Gov. Deval L. Patrick’s goal of installing 250 megawatts (MW) of solar power by 2017, said an April 12 press release from the Massachusetts Executive office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

Solarize Mass encourages the adoption of small-scale solar PV through a coordinated education, marketing and outreach effort, combined with a tiered pricing structure that provides increased savings as more people in the community go solar.

Massachusetts has seen a nearly thirty-fold increase in solar PV installations since 2007, spurred by solar rebate programs launched in 2008, Recovery Act funding for solar on water treatment facilities and other public buildings, and Solarize Mass, said the EOEA statement. Currently, there are more than 100 MW of solar energy installed in Massachusetts, and an additional 40 MW under contract for installation, up from 3.5 MW when Governor Patrick took office.

Massachusetts lies at the end of the energy pipeline – lacking in-state production of coal, natural gas, or oil. As a result, residents have some of the highest energy costs in the nation. Of the $22 billion Massachusetts spends annually to buy energy, 80 percent flows out of state to purchase coal from Colombia, oil from Venezuela, and natural gas and oil from the Middle East and Canada. That’s nearly $18 billion in lost economic opportunity that Massachusetts is reclaiming through investments in home-grown renewable energy and energy efficiency, the statement said.

Click here for more information on the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s Web site.

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