NEWBURYPORT – The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and the Department of Energy Resources announced on Tuesday the city was selected for a state-administered program that gives residents and local businesses a break on solar costs.
Newburyport was selected along with Lincoln, Sudbury, Wayland and Winthrop to participate in Solarize Mass, a community-based solar group purchasing program that can deliver savings of up to 21 percent on solar costs compared to the statewide average for residents and businesses.
This will be the second time residents will have the opportunity to benefit from the program since 2012, when 46 solar panel systems were added throughout the city, generating 423 kilowatts of solar power.
The announcement for this year’s program was made outside City Hall, across the street from Portside Family Dental, which installed solar panels on its roof through the program in 2012.
Mayor Donna Holaday addressed a group of MassCEC officials and volunteers, highlighting the strides that the city has made since becoming a Green Community under then-Gov. Deval Patrick in 2010.
“We’ve done so much as a community and I’m very excited that we keep getting recognized by the state,” Holaday said. “I’m hoping that residents will continue to show their support.”
Newburyport opted to participate in the Solarize Mass Plus Program, which also allows the public to pair solar electric systems with solar hot water systems, air source heat pumps or electric vehicles with discounted prices.
Stephen Pike, CEO of the Clean Energy Center, emphasized the goal of improving economic development while dealing with climate change. He thanked Newburyport officials for helping to make the program successful.
“It’s a community-based system,” Pike said. “Without a strong local team, this program would be dead on arrival.”
In a press release from MassCEC, Gov. Charlie Baker highlighted the state’s leading role in promoting solar power and praised the programs for their strides in clean energy.
“Massachusetts continues to lead the nation in clean energy solutions, propelled by a business climate that encourages and enables new innovative technologies,” Baker said. “The Solarize Mass Program and the Mass Solar Connect Program are two great examples of our Administration working with communities and nonprofits to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the commonwealth, while simultaneously bringing energy costs down for the people of Massachusetts.”
Additionally, the Mass Energy Consumers Alliance, the Cape and Islands Self Reliance Corp. and the Marion Institute have been selected to participate in the 2017 Mass Solar Connect program, a solar group buying program for members of participating nonprofit organizations.
MassCEC and the Department of Energy Resources are accepting community applications for the 2017 Solarize Mass and Solarize Mass Plus programs.
Funding is provided by the Renewable Energy Trust, which was created by the Legislature in 1998. The trust is funded by a systems benefit charge paid by customers of investor-owned utilities and municipal electric departments that have opted into the program.
Since it was launched in 2011, 58 communities have participated in the Solarize Mass Program, resulting in more than 3,400 small-scale installations at homes and businesses and totaling 20.6 megawatts of solar capacity.
Jack Shea covers Newburyport City Hall. He can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 978-961-3154. Follow him on Twitter @iamjackshea.