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Feb232013

SEIA - Breaking: Solar industry calls on Mass. to increase solar carve-out 

WASHINGTON, DC -- The Patrick Administration today announced a process to further accelerate solar energy deployment in Massachusetts. This news comes as Massachusetts is within a year to 18 months of reaching the 400 megawatts (MW) target of the existing solar carve-out.

Establishing a more aggressive solar carve-out program would bring Massachusetts up to the level of other states in the northeast that are supporting local solar industries.  New Jersey has a 4 gigawatt (GW) goal for solar energy deployment, while Maryland has a 1.3 GW goal.

Massachusetts is currently ranked ninth among states in terms of installed solar capacity, according to the latest U.S. Solar Market Insight® report. There are approximately 4,500 solar professionals working at 229 companies in Massachusetts. Since the end of 2009, cumulative installed solar photovoltaic capacity in Massachusetts has increased from 16 MW to more than 200 MW. This growth rate is among the fastest in the nation.

Industry leaders praised the newly-announced process, and added their hope that it would lead to an ambitious solar deployment goal. “This process is an important step in the right direction,” explained Carrie Cullen Hitt, senior vice president for state affairs at the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “Based on the capabilities of the growing Massachusetts solar industry and the commonwealth’s solar potential, we urge the Patrick Administration to move to triple or quadruple the target.”

Massachusetts has several successful solar initiatives in place, including Solar Renewable Energy Credits, Solarize Massachusetts, Commonwealth Solar Green Communities and Leading by Example. These programs allow Massachusetts residents and businesses to leverage incentives to buy or lease solar power systems. Solar customers are also permitted to sell any unused power they generate back to an electric company.

“The commonwealth’s forward-thinking policies ensure that solar will become an increasingly significant component in Massachusetts’ energy portfolio – one that helps contain electricity costs for families and businesses,” Hitt added.  “By setting the bar higher for solar, Governor Patrick can help to build a robust, sustainable clean technology economy in Massachusetts for many years to come.  We look forward to working with the governor, the legislature and other stakeholders to move this initiative forward.”

Mike Hall, CEO of Borrego Solar Systems, Inc., applauded the announcement. “The administration’s and legislature’s vision in establishing the commonwealth as a national solar leader is what brought Borrego here in the first place, and what led us to make Lowell our national design center and operations headquarters,” said Hall. “We look forward to continuing to grow, create new jobs, and bring outside investment into Massachusetts’ energy infrastructure.”

Since 2008, the amount of solar powering U.S. homes, businesses, and military bases has grown by more than 500 percent – from 1,100 megawatts to more than 6,400 megawatts today, which is enough to power more than one million average American households. Solar is the fastest-growing and most affordable, accessible and reliable clean energy technology available today.  America’s solar industry now employs more than 119,000 workers at 5,600 companies – most of which are small businesses spread across every state in the union.

Additional Resources:
- SEIA: Massachusetts: http://www.seia.org/state-solar-policy/massachusetts
- Mass. Dept of Energy and Environmental Affairs Announces Intention to Begin Rulemaking and Solicit Comments – Feb. 22, 2013
 
About SEIA:
Established in 1974, the Solar Energy Industries Association® is the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry. Through advocacy and education, SEIA® is building a strong solar industry to power America. As the voice of the industry, SEIA works with its 1,000 member companies to make solar a mainstream and significant energy source by expanding markets, removing market barriers strengthening the industry and educating the public on the benefits of solar energy. Visit SEIA online at www.seia.org.

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