Press Release

Press Release Baker-Polito Administration Awards $2.3 Million to Fund Solar Program for Municipal Light Plant Customers

Program Will Increase Access to Solar Programs for All Residents
For immediate release:
5/13/2019
  • Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources

Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Awards $2.3 Million to Fund Solar Program for Municipal Light Plant Customers

Jessica Ridlen, Communications Director, Mass DOER

BostonThe Baker-Polito Administration today awarded $2.3 million to fund a solar rebate program to support residential and small commercial solar projects for customers in participating Municipal Light Plant (MLP) service territories. The program is funded by the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) with a 50 percent cost share between Energy New England (ENE) and the Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company (MMWEC), who will administer the program.

“Massachusettsnation leading solar industry has installed over 2,375 megawatts of solar across all 351 cities and towns,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Partnering with municipal light plants for this program will ensure that all residents and businesses have access to initiatives that support the expansion of solar, lowering emissions and energy bills for residents and businesses across the Commonwealth.”

“This solar incentive rebate program for municipal light plant customers will increase access to clean energy by making solar adoption more cost-effective for residents and businesses in more communities,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “We look forward to further collaboration with our municipal partners to achieve our shared clean energy goals.”

Customers that are served by Municipal Light Plants do not contribute to the costs of the Commonwealth’s new solar incentive program, Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) and are therefore ineligible. In the Commonwealth’s transition from the Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) programs to the SMART program, this program provides MLP customers with an opportunity to reduce the costs of installing solar on their property. The program requires MLPs to provide a 50 percent cost-share of the incentives directly to their residents. Depending on which municipality they live in, customers will be able to apply through ENE or MMWEC for rebates up to $1.20 per watt capped at 50% of total project costs for projects equal to 25 kilowatts (kW) or less. The program will begin accepting applications on May 20, 2019.

“Through this program, Massachusetts will continue to provide support to increase solar adoption for all residents and businesses while assisting in meeting our greenhouse gas reduction goals,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “Municipal light plants are key partners in the Baker-Polito Administration’s efforts to expand clean energy and reduce emissions.”

“This collaborating between communities with municipal light plants and the Commonwealth is another way we are bringing clean, affordable and resilient energy to residents across Massachusetts,” said Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Judith Judson. “We commend the MLPs and look forward to working with these partners to implement a successful program.” 

The program will be available to 45 towns serviced by MLPs, which are home to over 875,000 residents. To date, there are 2,417 projects amounting to 187 MW of installed solar in the participating MLPs. This program will result in an approximately 30 percent increase in installed solar capacity of projects sized 25 kilowatts or less in these 45 communities.

Participating municipalities include:

ENE

MMWEC

Participating MLP Municipalities

Participating MLP Municipalities

Belmont

Ashburnham

Berkley

Boylston

Boxborough

Chicopee

Braintree 

Groton

Concord

Holden

Danvers 

Ipswich

Dighton

Mansfield

Georgetown

Marblehead

Groveland

Paxton

Hingham

Peabody

Hudson 

Princeton

Lakeville

Shrewsbury

Littleton 

South Hadley

Lynnfield

Sterling

Merrimac

Templeton

Middleborough

Wakefield

Middleton

West Boylston

North Attleboro 

 

North Reading

 

Norwood 

 

Raynham

 

Reading

 

Rowley

 

Stow

 

Taunton 

 

Wellesley

 

Westfield

 

Wilmington

 

The Commonwealth is a national leader in solar adoption, with over 89,000 projects equal to 2.3 gigawatts of solar installed across all 351 cities and towns. This program will compliment SMART, which was launched in November, and is projected to increase solar installations in investor-owned utility service territories by an additional 1,600 megawatts with an incentive paid directly by the utility company to the solar generation owner.

“MMWEC is pleased to be awarded this funding on behalf of our municipal utility members to support solar programs in their communities,” said Ronald C. DeCurzio, Chief Executive Officer of the Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company.  “This is yet another example of how municipal utilities are partnering with the administration to help the state meet its goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the Commonwealth today and in the years ahead.” 

“Energy New England on behalf of the 28 communities it represents, is excited to join the Baker-Polito Administration in making this program available to the customers of these communities, who are interested in installing solar,” said John G. Tzimorangas, President and Chief Executive Officer of Energy New England. “The municipal utilities share the goals of the Governor, Lt. Governor, Secretary and Commissioners in moving new technologies to customers, who can be a large part in assisting the municipal utilities and the Commonwealth in moving toward the greenhouse gas reduction goals.  These types of programs show the continued cooperation between the Commonwealth and the municipal utilities

“This program is an excellent step in reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. I am proud of Ipswich and Rowley for ensuring solar access to residents and businesses in our community and for our town leaders for continuing to push for policies that help our towns and the Commonwealth,” said State Representative Brad Hill (R-Ipswich). “This collaboration between the state, our local officials and our local utilities shows our commitment to take meaningful action to encourage all of our residents and businesses to be part of our clean energy future.

“A commitment to clean energy is an essential part of how we do business here in Stow and Hudson. It is no surprise that our local officials, in concert with Hudson Light and Power, are at the forefront of championing this significant solar program in our towns,” said State Representative Kate Hogan (D-Stow). “As business and municipal leaders, they do not just talk about the importance of scaling up solar, they act – helping to make its adoption more accessible, affordable, and pragmatic for area residents. This is the kind of local, state, and provider partnership that will transform how we think about and consume energy in the 21st century.”

“Massachusetts has been aggressive and effective in pursuing solar electricity aggregation in a wide array of setting, and this tremendous partnership will expand that leadership into an important frontier, the service territories of municipal light companies,” said State Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R- Gloucester). “This collaborative approach will bring sustainable benefits from long-term cost savings and the reduction of carbon emissions.”

“Increasing solar power is a critical part of moving to a 100 percent clean energy future,” said State Senator Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton). “I recently toured businesses in my district that use solar power and they highlighted the financial and sustainability benefits of clean energy. However, they also highlighted the challenges of our state’s solar policy, and I want to thank the Baker-Polito administration for creating this new incentive. I also want to thank Hudson, Littleton, and Boxborough for helping create this program that will benefit our residents and environment.”

Funding for these grants is available through proceeds from Alternative Compliance Payments (ACP) paid by retail electric suppliers that do not meet their Renewable Portfolio Standard compliance obligations through the purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates.

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Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Awards $2.3 Million to Fund Solar Program for Municipal Light Plant Customers

Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources 

DOER helps create a clean, affordable, and resilient energy future for the Commonwealth.
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