Three Massachusetts State Colleges Win Grants for Solar Energy Projects

Officials at three state colleges in Massachusetts were recently awarded Clean Renewable EnergyBonds (CREBs) from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service to be used to erect photovoltaic (PV) solar-electric systems at the schools totaling 240 kilowatts (kW).

The projects range in size from 68 kW at Salem State College, and 82 kW at Springfield Technical Community College, to 100 kW at Mount Wachusett Community College. “The CREBs basically act as a no-interest loan,” said Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian Bowles. “Thanks to this financing vehicle, along with grants from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, solar power will be more than symbolic on these campuses.” The CREBs, available through the U.S Energy Policy Act of 2005, are an alternative for public institutions unable to take advantage of tax credits for clean energy. Taking advantage of these bonds would mean the colleges could increase the size of their solar installations – by a factor of 10 — and payback the bond on an annual basis from savings on energy bills using solar rather than conventional electricity. The CREBs awards came as a result of a Public Awareness grant from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative’s Renewable Energy Trust to Clean Air – Cool Planet (CA-CP), a Northeast nonprofit dedicated to implementing solutions to global warming for colleges, communities, businesses, and science centers. The grant allowed CA-CP to work with the colleges through the Massachusetts Clean Powered Campuses program, which focuses on increasing knowledge surrounding renewable energy at six state campuses. “The Trust is proud to help bring the environmental and economic benefits of renewable energy to campuses throughout Massachusetts,” said Warren Leon, director of the Renewable Energy Trust.
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