Between February 2012 and February 2013, Massachusetts implemented a $566,354 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative Rooftop Solar Challenge to lower the “soft costs “ – such as permitting, zoning, and financing – of residential and small commercial rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in Massachusetts. Please review the results of our work:

Outreach to Community Financial Institutions
Permitting and Structural Review
Interconnection Website
Community Shared Solar

Other work is in development. Please check back to review:

Model Solar Zoning Documents

Background

The SunShot Initiative Rooftop Solar Challenge incentivized regional awardees to address the differing and expensive permitting, zoning, metering, and connection processes required to install and finance residential and commercial solar systems. Massachusetts was one of 22 Rooftop Solar Challenge teams selected from a total of 46 applicants to bring together city, county, and state officials, regulatory entities, private industry, universities, local utilities, and other regional stakeholders to clear a path for rapid expansion of solar energy and serve as models for other communities across the nation.

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The Rooftop Solar Challenge is part of the SunShot Initiative, which strives to make solar energy cost-competitive with other forms of energy by the end of the decade, and part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s larger effort to position the United States as a global leader in the rapidly-growing solar market.

The Massachusetts team – Mass Solar: Making it EZ – used its grant to develop model permitting processes and structural review guidance, create an implementation guide for community shared solar, conduct outreach to community financial institutions, develop model solar zoning bylaw language, and update DOER’s interconnection website. The team’s municipal partners - Boston, Cambridge, Harvard, Hatfield and Winchester – also implemented permitting changes and developed solar guidance documents for their residents.

In addition to DOER, the Massachusetts team included the five municipal partners (Boston, Cambridge, Harvard, Hatfield, and Winchester), the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), the Solar Energy Business Association of New England (SEBANE), the Massachusetts Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS ), and MassDevelopment.