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Massachusetts Commonwealth Solar Program Hits One-Year Mark

A solar rebate program launched by Governor Deval Patrick and the state of Massachusetts a year ago is showing success in the adoption of solar energy for homes, businesses and municipal buildings across Massachusetts, Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Ian Bowles announced last week.

Commonwealth Solar (CommSolar) has approved nearly US $22 million in rebates for 539 solar photovoltaic (PV) projects which, once completed, will more than double the 5 megawatts (MW) of installed solar capacity that existed in Massachusetts when the program opened for business. The Commonwealth is on pace to reach 15 MW, or nearly quadruple the capacity in place when Governor Patrick took office, by the end of this year.  

Of the 539 rebates awarded since January 2008, 203 projects are already complete, providing more than 1.2 MW of electricity. Another 336 projects, representing 6 MW, have received rebates and are underway, while 185 more rebate applications representing nearly 1 MW of capacity are now pending.  

While many of the CommSolar projects approved so far are smaller residential PV installations, the project pipeline includes numerous large, commercial-scale projects of 100 kilowatts (kW) or more. SunEdison submitted its first applications in December for six projects in Bedford, Billerica, Bellingham, Boston, Cambridge and Framingham for more than 650 kW of generating capacity.

Seen as a first step in achieving the Governor’s goal to install 250 MW of solar power in Massachusetts by 2017, the Patrick Administration launched CommSolar last year through the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust with a goal of facilitating development of 22 MW of solar PV power over four years.

Governor Patrick was on the west coast this week talking with technology and renewable energy companies about working with the Commonwealth. He shared his thoughts about a meeting with Vestas and the CommSolar anniversary with RenewableEnergyWorld.com, calling both of them successful. He also talked about his frustrations over opposition to the Obama Administration's stimulus package.

To hear what the governor had to say, click the links below, or to download the clips, right click on the links and select Save As.

Governor Patrick on his Vestas meeting and the Commonwealth Solar anniversary.

Governor Patrick on opposition to passing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

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