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Solar Power Expansion in Massachusetts under Guidance of Massachusetts Governor

In 2007, when Deval Patrick became the Governor of Massachusetts, a total of 3.5 MW solar systems had been installed in the State. Currently, as he is ready to begin his second term as the Governor, the State has 33.3 MW installed and a similar amount under construction.

This was due to the solar power incentives offered by both the Federal and State Government. According to Ian Bowles, Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary, the State’s concerted efforts in promoting solar has paid off. The Governor had set a target of 250 MW by 2017, which would power about 37,500 homes, increase the usage of clean renewable power in the state and at the same time promote or encourage businesses that are into designing, building and installing solar energy systems.

In 2007, Massachusetts began its Commonwealth Solar Program offering rebates to both small businesses that installed solar panels and homeowners. The program reached its target by October 2009 as the initial $68 million pool was fully utilized for solar systems. The State then unveiled the Commonwealth Solar II Program in January 2010 extending the rebates for commercial and residential solar installations of 5 kW or less. The Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust established in 2003 and funded by the monthly electric bill charges has granted $1 million per quarter for both the Commonwealth Programs.

The State has also introduced the Commonwealth Solar Stimulus using $8 million as federal stimulus funds to assist companies in installing huge solar arrays that would generate more than 5 kW of energy. Further, the State has also begun a third program for solar market credits. This program is endorsed by the Green Communities Act passed in 2008, and it furnishes a predictable market for credits, which the homeowners could generate via their solar systems. These credits are then sold to other buyers or firms that want to compensate for carbon-based power systems. The homeowners get an amount of $ 300 to $600. All these efforts have made Massachusetts, the third leading state in the solar market following California and New Jersey’s footsteps.


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