Patrick-Murray Administration Announces Stimulus Funds for 46 Solar Energy Projects
Commonwealth Solar Stimulus puts federal funds to work supporting solar energy in a second round of stimulus-funded rebates
BOSTON – June 29, 2010 – As part of the Patrick-Murray Administration's Massachusetts Recovery Plan to secure the state's economic future, Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Ian Bowles today announced a second round of federal stimulus funding to install 3.8 megawatts (MW) of solar power at 46 sites throughout the Commonwealth.
This is the second round of awards under the Commonwealth Solar Stimulus program, which funds solar projects generating from 5 kilowatts (kW) to 200 kW of power each. Commonwealth Solar Stimulus' first round, announced in April 2010, provided $4 million in rebates to 56 solar projects throughout the Commonwealth, installing a total of 4 MW of solar power. In total, Commonwealth Solar Stimulus has awarded funds to 102 solar projects in Massachusetts, installing 7.8 MW of solar power.
"Thanks in large part to the Commonwealth Solar program, growth in solar power continues to drive our new clean energy economy," Governor Deval Patrick said. "This latest round of grants will bring this source of home-grown power to 46 more sites across Massachusetts."
"Our administration has made it a priority to support and grow the clean energy industry in Massachusetts, and this second round of funding reflects our commitment to this industry" said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray. "With these federal stimulus funds, we can further invest in solar industry in all regions across the Commonwealth."
"Through Governor Patrick's leadership, Massachusetts is on track for a 20-fold increase in solar power over a four-year period - an accomplishment that has added jobs and companies to the Massachusetts economy," said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian Bowles.
The Patrick-Murray Administration's emphasis on solar power has spurred the growth of a vibrant solar industry in Massachusetts - expanding the number of solar installation contractors and subcontractors from roughly 50 in January 2008 to nearly 200 today, and more than doubling employment in the solar sector. Solar PV projects assisted by Commonwealth Solar rebates, as well as solar installations supported by federal stimulus funds on water treatment facilities and other public buildings, will bring the state to more than 60 MW of solar power by the end of 2010, up from 3.5 MW when Governor Patrick took office.
"This second round of Commonwealth Solar Stimulus grants will continue to add more megawatts of solar power to Governor Patrick's goal of 250 MW of solar energy by 2017," said Carter Wall, Executive Director of the Renewable Energy Division at the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC). "We look forward to seeing these systems and more up and running and producing clean, renewable energy for the people of Massachusetts."
Between January 2008 and December 2009, Commonwealth Solar's initial phase awarded nearly 1,300 rebates for residential, commercial and municipal projects capable of generating 23.5 MW of electricity - enough to annually power nearly 3,750 homes in Massachusetts. On the heels of that success, in late January MassCEC launched two new solar rebate programs - Commonwealth Solar II and Commonwealth Solar Stimulus. The first round of Commonwealth Solar Stimulus, which assists solar photovoltaic (PV) systems sized up to 200 kW, received 86 applications in less than five hours.
The second $4 million round of rebates opened April 9 and was fully subscribed in less than an hour. Funding for the program comes from $8 million in State Energy Program funding awarded to the Department of Energy Resources under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
"Solar energy is already making Massachusetts homes and businesses more energy efficient and putting money back in the taxpayers' pockets. These rebates will create jobs, reduce our dependence on foreign oil and protect the environment," said Senator John Kerry.
"As a longtime supporter of renewable energy, I am pleased that more than 40 solar projects across the state will benefit from this federal funding. Not only do we need to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, the United States must become a leader in the new emerging green economy. By developing our renewable energy technologies we can create jobs here in Massachusetts, protect the environment and strengthen our national security," said Congressman Richard E. Neal.
"Funding for innovative clean power projects was put into the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act because these investments reduce energy bills and promote reliable domestic sources of power," said Congresswoman Niki Tsongas. "Better still, they put people to work installing and developing these cost-saving technologies as we have already seen in the Commonwealth."
The following projects received funding in the second Commonwealth Solar Stimulus rebate round: