GOVERNOR PATRICK HIGHLIGHTS GROWTH OF SOLAR INDUSTRY WITH VISIT TO SOLAR PHOTOVOLTAIC INSTALLATION
Massachusetts jobs in solar manufacturing, installation and service nearly tripled since 2007, survey shows
The Patrick-Murray Administration's emphasis on solar power, spurred by Governor Patrick's goal of 250 megawatts (MW) installed by 2017 has catalyzed the growth of a vibrant solar industry in Massachusetts. According to a recent survey of clean energy companies conducted by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), employment in solar manufacturing, installation and services has nearly tripled since Governor Patrick first took office, from 1,200 jobs in 2007 to roughly 3,000 expected by the end of 2010. Solar manufacturing jobs alone have jumped from 750 in 2007 to 2,000 in 2010.
"Clean energy technology is a huge economic opportunity for Massachusetts, and our success in solar power is a prime example of that," said Governor Patrick. "We are using all the levers at our disposal to make solar power an option for residents, businesses, and institutions, and then meet the demand with Massachusetts-made products installed by Massachusetts workers."
"We are well on the way toward reaching Governor Patrick's 250 MW goal, and are reaping the benefits in jobs as well as clean energy," said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian Bowles.
"It is because of the leadership of Governor Patrick and innovative programs like Commonwealth Solar that Massachusetts is seeing such astounding growth in its solar industry in hard economic times," said MassCEC Executive Director Patrick Cloney. "We are proud to see businesses like SunSetter Products benefiting from solar energy and working with us to create a clean energy future."
SunSetter Products, which manufactures retractable deck and patio awnings, received a Commonwealth Solar rebate for the installation of its 126 kW PV system. This system, which is comprised of 616 solar panels manufactured by Devens-based Evergreen Solar, will produce more than 138,000 kWh of electricity per year, which is equivalent to approximately 35 percent of the facility's current annual energy needs.
"SunSetter's investment, together with the help of the Patrick-Murray Administration and the Federal government, represents our commitment to our Green Energy Initiative and reducing our carbon footprint," said Ido Eilam, CEO of SunSetter, who expects to see a return on its investment in less than five years, before enjoying 25 years of free power from the sun. "The renewable energy generated by the solar panels and our new energy efficient lighting is helping SunSetter save approximately 40% in electricity costs."
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 installed or under contract by the end of 2010, up from 3.5 MW when Governor Patrick took office.
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 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. Funding for Commonwealth Solar Stimulus comes from $8 million in State Energy Program funding awarded to the Department of Energy Resources under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
Commonwealth Solar Stimulus has awarded funds to 102 solar projects in Massachusetts for 7.8 MW of solar power. In addition, the Commonwealth awarded the largest solar installation contract in the state's history - $20 million for 4.1 MW of solar on waterworks facilities - early this year, funded by ARRA monies from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In all, the Commonwealth has dedicated over $160 million of renewable energy and federal funds to support investment in solar energy totaling almost $330 million.
Going forward, a new Solar Credit program will support larger installations of solar PV in the future, while Commonwealth Solar II will continue to provide rebates for smaller residential and commercial systems.
For an online map showing the growth of solar power in Massachusetts to date, go to www.masscec.com/index.cfm/page/Going-Solar-in-Massachusetts/cdid/11581/pid/11151.