Green Needham Chair Michael Greis, Solar Coach Artie Crocker and Municipal Representative Tatiana Swanson traveled to Amherst on Monday, December 2nd for the formal announcement that Needham is one of the communities selected to participate in the second round of the 2013 Solarize Massachusetts program.
Solarize Mass® is a community-focused, grassroots solar energy marketing, education and group-buying program. It is designed to increase the adoption of solar PV across the state and reduce the overall cost of solar power by offering residents and businesses discounted pricing for solar systems. Residents in participating communities are offered a tiered pricing structure, where the savings increase as more residents sign contracts to install solar.
Since its inception as a pilot in four communities in 2011, through the first round of the 2013 program, the Solarize program has resulted in over 1,250 solar PV installations and contracts signed totaling 9 megawatts of electric generating capacity.
Home and business owners who want to participate can either purchase the solar electricity systems directly or enter into a lease or power purchase agreement (PPA) with the selected installer. Under a lease or PPA, the installer will own, operate and maintain the system, while the home or business owner agrees to purchase the power generated by the system at an agreed-upon rate.
The announcement of the participating communities was made by Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan, who highlighted Solarize program’s role in creating local jobs while enabling residents to join the clean energy economy in their homes and businesses. The Solarize Program is run by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) and the Department of Energy Resources. Speaking at the event, MassCEC CEO Alicia Barton and DoER Commissioner Mark Sylvia both emphasized the importance of local – the central role played by communities, local organizations and residents in the success of the Solarize Program and the wider clean energy economy in Massachusetts. That has been the Green Needham message since 2006, so we know Needham residents will feel right at home in the Solarize Program.
Solar installers will have eight days from today’s announcement to submit proposals to the Clean Energy Center to serve one or more of the participating communities. After a threshold review by the Clean Energy Center, qualified installers’ proposals will be forwarded to Needham. A community review team will select up to three finalists for interviews, after which a single installer will be selected to work with the community. Outreach and sign-ups will begin shortly thereafter and continue for a period of several months.
Over the next couple of weeks, we will be notified of exact dates for these next steps. However, based on draft timelines and previous program experience, we expect that the installer selection will take place in January with the program kickoff in early February.
Keep up with developments at the Solarize Needham site.