Solar News

  • November 2, 2015

    Vermont Introduces Community Solar Financing

    By Todd Olinsky-Paul, Project Director, CESAIt’s an exciting time in the solar PV field. Prices have fallen so fast and so far that in many states, solar is becoming competitive with grid-purchased electricity. And although we are currently seeing a rush to install before the scheduled reduction of the 30% federal Investment Tax Credit at the end of 2016, some studies show that solar will continue to be competitive in many jurisdictions even at the reduced 10% ITC for commercial systems.  

    In a number of states too, solar incentives have begun to decline. With solar looking more and more as though it will be able to stand on its own, discussion has begun to focus on the future role of states with regard to solar. If incentives won’t be needed to get the technology from lab to rooftop, what should state energy offices be doing?

    While it’s true that solar is more competitive than ever, it is still not an equal-access commodity; and competitive pricing may not help much if you don’t own property or enjoy a good credit rating. For this reason a number of CESA member states have expressed interest in programs, such as community solar, that could help make the technology accessible to those who have not heretofore been able to access it.

    Now Vermont has taken the concept a step farther, with a financing program for community solar projects that will buy down interest rates for residents who need to borrow in order to participate. The Vermont Community Solar Loan Program, administered by the Vermont Public Service Department’s Clean Energy Development Fund, will provide affordable financing to help low-income Vermonters buy an ownership interest in community solar projects with up to 500 kW capacity. The interest rate buy-down will be funded through support from the SunShot Initiative Rooftop Solar Challenge II, and the loans will be administered through the Vermont State Employees Credit Union. The program will offer unsecured or secured loans up to $40,000, with terms up to 15 years.

    The program has garnered some national attention, notably as part of a White House announcement on solar access. The program is on target for an imminent statewide launch, with details to be available soon on the VT PSD website.

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  • October 27, 2015

    California Drives the Market for Solar Deployment

    California has the world’s eighth-largest economy and a population that is projected to grow from 39 million today to 50 million by 2050. Providing enough energy to meet the state’s power needs would be a major challenge under stable conditions, but climate change will make it even more difficult. Notably, rising temperatures are projected to increase energy demand for summer cooling. And changing precipitation patterns will reduce spring snowpack in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, decreasing hydropower generation, which produced up to 15 percent of the state’s electricity supply before the current multi-year drought.

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  • September 28, 2015

    California’s Solar Equipment List Saves Time and Money

    California’s commitment to solar energy development has created a large market for solar energy technologies of all sizes. In Senate Bill 1 (SB 1), enacted in 2006, the state legislature directed the California Energy Commission to establish criteria for which PV equipment would be eligible for rebates under the state’s solar electric incentive programs, along with conditions for those incentives and rating standards for solar incentive programs. Today the commission’s list ( includes information on thousands of models of PV modules, inverters, and other solar equipment, far more than other databases. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) calls it “the most robust source of [performance and safety] information for PV equipment in the United States,” and “the de facto national eligible equipment list.”

    Ensuring High Quality and Performance

    SB 1 provided California state energy agencies with $3.3 billion over 10 years to support 3,000 megawatts of solar projects. To support this goal, the bill laid out specific expectations that projects had to meet in order to qualify for ratepayer-funded incentives, including the following:

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  • September 24, 2015

    Rhode Island Makes Solar Work for the Distribution System

    By Georgena Terry, Volunteer Research Associate, CESAHow does a utility cope with peak loads that are stressing its distribution system? It constructs a new substation feeder. Or does it?

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  • September 23, 2015

    Energy Trust of Oregon’s Solar Program Awarded State & Local Government Achievement of the Year by IREC

    The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) has awarded the Energy Trust of Oregon the State & Local Government Achievement of the Year award for their solar cost reduction initiative. This multi-year plan has helped make solar systems easier to install and more affordable. A large part of this initiative was reducing “soft costs,” the non-hardware costs associated with installing a solar system, which can account for more than 50% of the total system cost for customers. These soft costs include permitting, inspection, and installation labor. “Reducing soft costs ultimately leads to savings for the customer, thriving solar businesses that contribute directly to our local economy and more renewable power produced in Oregon,” said Jeni Hall, solar project manager, accepting the award on behalf of Energy Trust. “We’re already seeing success with this effort,” continued Hall. “As one example, working with the Oregon Department of Energy, we combined the residential solar application process for customers receiving both an Energy Trust cash incentive and a state energy tax credit into one simple online process. A change that contractors say is saving two hours per project.” Read more about IREC’s Best of 2015 award-winning projects here. Read a press release from the Energy Trust of Oregon here.

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  • September 9, 2015

    Minnesota Tackles the Value of Solar

    By Georgena Terry, Volunteer Research Associate, CESAIn 1983, Minnesota became the first state to require net metering for distributed generation. More than three decades later, many other states have joined Minnesota in requiring utilities to pay retail rates for the solar power they purchase from customers. The rooftop solar PV market is growing across the country, thanks in part to net metering. But as greater quantities of solar electricity penetrate the grid, some utility companies and energy analysts are questioning whether net metering will still make sense in the future.

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  • September 3, 2015

    Washington, DC Bridges the Solar Gap

    The District of Columbia has enjoyed 15 years of strong economic growth. But prosperity is spread unevenly across the nation’s capital. Calling Washington “an increasingly two-class town,” the New York Times Magazine reported in 2013 that about one-third of the city’s households earned less than $60,000 a year, while nearly half made more than $100,000 a year. At the same time, high housing and energy costs make Washington, DC one of the nation’s most expensive places to live.

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  • September 1, 2015

    Private Letter Ruling on the Eligibility of an Individual Panel Owner in an Offsite, Net-Metered Community-Shared Solar Project to Claim the Section 25D Tax Credit

    In August 2015, the Internal Revenue Service issued a private letter ruling concluding that a particular owner of PV panels in an offsite, community-shared solar array is eligible to take advantage of one of the primary incentives offered to homeowners adopting solar—the 30 percent federal residential income tax credit available under Section 25D of the Internal Revenue Code, sometimes known in the industry as the “residential ITC.” The Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA), in collaboration with stakeholders in Massachusetts and Vermont, and with attorneys in the Boston office of law firm Foley Hoag, LLP, arranged for the submission of the private letter ruling request.

    Community-shared solar allows electric customers to buy an interest in an offsite solar array and to receive credit on their electricity bills for their ownership interest. While the IRS’s ruling is only legally applicable to the individual taxpayer in question—a solar panel owner in Boardman Hill Solar Farm, a member-managed 150 kW off-site solar array in Vermont—the ruling may open up project opportunities for direct ownership of community-shared solar systems by multiple individuals.

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  • September 1, 2015

    Shedding Some Light on a Taxing Situation for Community-Shared Solar

    By Nate Hausman, Project Manager, CESA For renters and for property owners with inadequate roof space, the many benefits of solar electricity may seem out of reach. About half of all households and businesses in the U.S. are not viable candidates to host a PV system. Community-shared solar offers these electricity customers a way to take advantage of solar PV by buying an interest in an offsite shared solar array and receiving a credit on their electricity bills for their ownership interest.

    The community shared solar market is growing rapidly, but its success depends on supportive regulatory frameworks and market systems. As community-shared solar has proliferated, a growing number of states have adopted community solar-enabling laws. This is clearly good news for solar, but one issue that has been less clear is whether an individual owner of solar panels installed in an offsite, community- shared array qualifies for one of the primary carrots offered to homeowners adopting solar—the 30% federal residential investment tax credit called the “residential ITC.” This uncertainty has created confusion in the marketplace.

    The Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA), a national nonprofit coalition of public agencies and organizations working on clean energy issues, took this issue head on. Working with stakeholders in Massachusetts and Vermont and with the law firm Foley Hoag, CESA facilitated the submission of a Private Letter Ruling request to the Internal Revenue Service to clarify whether an owner of solar panels in a shared, offsite solar array is eligible for the residential ITC. The IRS recently released its Private Letter Ruling confirming the taxpayer’s eligibility for the residential ITC. While the ruling is only legally applicable to the individual taxpayer in question, the ruling will be taken as a positive development by community-shared solar participants and project developers.

    The recent Private Letter Ruling represents the first instance in which the IRS has publicly weighed in on the applicability of the residential ITC to an owner of solar panels in a shared, offsite array. The ruling suggests that the IRS may be receptive to claims for the residential ITC when a project mirrors the structure of the project that was the subject of the Private Letter Ruling. It represents more good news for the burgeoning community-shared solar market.

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  • July 28, 2015

    States Spur Solarize Successes

    States have been using group purchasing and special marketing initiatives to bring down the cost of solar. A wide range of campaigns, each called Solarize, have been launched with leadership from state agencies in Oregon, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and other states. Solarize initiatives combine four components:

    1. Community-Driven Outreach: These methods may include peer-to-peer interactions, social media campaigns, town meetings, and booths at community events

    2. Competitively Selected Installers: Through a competitive bidding process, the targeted community selects an installer or installers to service the area throughout the duration of the Solarize campaign. This reduces installers’ customer acquisition and screening costs and saves the consumer from the effort of shopping around for a reputable, price-competitive installer.

    3. Discount, Tiered Pricing: Pre-negotiated discounts increase as more people sign up within a target community (i.e., the more people who go solar under a Solarize campaign, the lower the price or overall cost savings for everyone who participates in the community).

    4. Limited Time Offer: Solarize campaigns are limited-time offers. This motivates customers to act quickly, or risk missing the window of opportunity to install solar PV at a reduced rate.

    Significant cost savings result from coordinated education, promotion, and outreach efforts by town volunteers, and in some cases assistance from professional marketing organizations, along with discounted pricing, which takes advantage of reduced customer acquisition costs. These savings are passed along to homeowners and create a compelling reason to sign up for Solarize.

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  • July 27, 2015

    A New Mexico Homeowner’s Guide to Solar Financing: Leases, Loans and PPAs

    CESA member the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department (EMNRD) has released a new guide for homeowners interested in going solar, entitled "A New Mexico Homeowner’s Guide to Solar Financing: Leases, Loans and PPAs." This free guide offers a comparison of the advantages and disadvantages of each option, as well as a look at how they compare to a cash purchase. In addition, the guide features a set of questions for New Mexico homeowners to ask during the decision-making process, and clarifies the key financing terms that homeowners should be familiar with in order to make an informed decision.

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  • June 30, 2015

    From Oregon to Rhode Island: The Impacts of Solarize

    Harvard University recently recognized Solarize Portland as a Top 25 program in this year’s Innovations in American Government Awards competition. These awards recognize and promote excellence and creativity in the public sector. Solarize Portland was established in 2009, with support from CESA member the Energy Trust of Oregon, and resulted in 130 solar installations, triple the number of all systems installed in Portland the previous year. Since then, Solarize has become a model for communities across the country. Recently, Solarize Rhode Island has reported great success in the early stages of their program, with much additional market growth expected to follow.

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  • June 20, 2015

    California Leads Nationally and Internationally on Installed Solar Capacity

    In the first quarter of 2015, California installed 718 MW of solar energy, raising the state's total capacity to 10,649 MW. California is the first state in the nation to reach 10,000 MW of installed solar capacity. California's leadership in solar is not just national but international - the state currently has more installed solar that most countries, including the UK, France, Spain, Australia and Belgium. Read more here and here.

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  • March 13, 2015

    C-PACE marks successful first two years

    Connecticut’s Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program has achieved remarkable success in its first two years. C-PACE offers financing to commercial property owners in Connecticut for valuable energy improvements with no upfront costs and immediate energy savings. To date, the Connecticut Green Bank has allocated more than $65 million for over 90 projects. Read more about C-PACE in a recent article in The Bridgepost News: C-PACE marks successful first two years.

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  • July 29, 2014

    Nine Vermont solar projects getting more than $442,000 in grants from CEDF

    Nine solar projects in Vermont are going to get more than $442,000 in grants to help provide more than 500 kilowatts of power for schools and communities across the state.

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  • May 27, 2014

    CESA Releases Case Study on Collaborative Solar Purchasing

    The Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA) has just released a new case study on a successful model for reducing solar costs through collaborative purchasing by public agencies. This case study, “A Model of Collaborative Solar Purchasing: The Alameda County Renewable Energy Procurement Project,” is available here.

    For municipalities and local public agencies, there are three main challenges to installing solar energy systems: high transaction costs, a steep learning curve, and fragmented regional demand. The process can be confusing and expensive, requiring more time and energy than a single agency could afford. Collaborative solar purchasing addresses all of these barriers to solar deployment.

    Alameda County, California, in collaboration with two local non-profit organizations, is facilitating wide-scale renewable energy adoption across a four-county area through a groundbreaking collaborative solar purchasing project among local public agencies. The Regional Renewable Energy Procurement Project (R-REP) is the largest multi-agency solar procurement project in the US. Beyond its size, R-REP incorporates extensive workforce development goals, along with several other improvements on previous approaches to collaborative purchasing. This case study provides an overview of the R-REP project, with an emphasis on best practices that can be used as a model by other public agencies and local governments.

    “We want to highlight this project because it is impressive in its scale and scope, and because it is a different model than we have seen before,” said Warren Leon, CESA Executive Director. “R-REP represents a comprehensive approach to collaborative solar purchasing, and there is much to learn from it.”

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  • May 13, 2014

    NYSERDA Announces $60 Million in NY-Sun Funding Available

    Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that $60 million is now available through the third round of the statewide NY-Sun Competitive PV initiative, as New York State continues to expand its portfolio of clean, renewable solar energy.

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  • April 2, 2014

    100 MW of Solar Generation Coming to Long Island

    PSEG Long Island, which manages LIPA’s electric system, announced today the results for Long Island’s second Clean Solar Initiative. The feed-in-tariff program builds upon Long Island Power Authority’s first feed-in tariff for solar energy and is designed to bring an additional 100 megawatts (MW) of solar energy to Long Island.

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  • March 12, 2014

    Massachusetts Supports Residential Solar with $30M in Loans

    The Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs is offering $30 million in a low-interest loan program aimed at encouraging residential solar projects.

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  • January 3, 2014

    Vermont’s Clean Energy Development Fund encouraged rapid solar deployment in 2013 through its Small Scale Renewable Energy Incentive Program

    Vermont’s Clean Energy Development Fund (CEDF) achieved great success in 2013 with its Small Scale Renewable Energy Incentive Program (SSREI).

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  • December 12, 2013

    DC Rooftop Solar Mapping Project

    The District Department of the Environment (DDOE) unveiled its state-of-the-art rooftop solar analysis tool, with the aim of advancing solar education and promoting rooftop solar adoption in the District.

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  • December 4, 2013

    NYSERDA and CECET Launch Solar Panel Testing Lab

    High-Tech Test Center, Only One in Northeast, Will Help Promote Growth of Solar Power Business and R&D in New York State

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  • October 29, 2013

    5,000th home goes solar in Oregon with support from Energy Trust of Oregon

    PORTLAND, Ore. — October 29, 2013 — In a place known for its cloudy weather, Oregon has reached an important milestone that truly makes the most of its sun. Solar panels went up today on the 5,000th home to install solar power with help from Energy Trust of Oregon, a nonprofit  that provides cash incentives and services for going solar. By connecting 5,000 solar-powered homes to the grid, the nonprofit estimates it has helped avoid producing 7,100 tons of carbon dioxide — the equivalent of removing 1,250 cars from Oregon roads for a year.

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  • October 21, 2013

    Connecticut Provides Homeowners Ability to Comparison Shop for Solar Energy Financing

    Rocky Hill, CT., October 21, 2013 —The Clean Energy Finance & Investment Authority (CEFIA) launched the GoSolarCT web portal and campaign, designed to build awareness of the money saving benefits for homeowners seeking to “go solar”. The website includes a new online tool enabling more than 1 million Connecticut homeowners to obtain specific data regarding their home’s suitability for solar and to compare energy and cash savings for solar leases and loans. GoSolarCT is part of the state’s Energize Connecticut initiative seeking to provide residents and businesses with cleaner, cheaper and more reliable energy opportunities.

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  • October 18, 2013

    LIPA Issues RFPs for RE and DG Resources

    Uniondale, NY – Today the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) issued two, separate requests for proposals (RFPs), asking developers to propose projects to be part of Long Island’s future energy supply. One proposal is for variable-sized renewable energy projects and the other is to begin replacement of Long Island's fleet of "peaking" generation facilities, installed as early as the 1960s and nearing retirement, with newer, cleaner distributed resources. Both RFPs are part of a comprehensive long-term energy strategy approved by the LIPA board of trustees in October 2012.

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  • October 16, 2013

    SMUD Working on Solar with Battery Storage in CA

    While some California utilities have been in the news lately for blocking homeowners from backing up their rooftop solar panels with batteries, Sacramento Municipal Utility District is working on solar-storage combinations that help the grid and residents alike -- read more at

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  • October 15, 2013

    MEA Supports Maryland’s first commercial solar micro grid

    The Maryland Energy Authority's (MEA) Grant Changer program supports the state's first commerical solar microgrid that "brings Maryland closer to reaching its goal of increasing in-state renewable generation to 20 percent by 2022, combines the strengths of Maryland’s booming solar energy market and the power of grid resiliency. In the event of a conventional power grid outage, the innovative solar PV array will stay online through the power of an advanced energy storage system. If grid power grid goes down, the system batteries will keep a “critical load” of 50 kW online for just over four hours at night and recharge the next day."

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  • September 25, 2013

    New CEFIA Report on Lowering Solar Soft Costs

    Report: Innovative Program “Cracks The Code” For Residential Solar Power

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  • September 20, 2013

    NY-Sun Unified Solar Permit to Streamline Permitting Processes throughout State

    Initiative Will Reduce Solar Project Costs and Support Growth of Solar Industry

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  • September 16, 2013

    NYSERDA and LIPA Announce Funding to Restart the LIPA Solar Pioneer Program to Advance the NY-Sun Initiative

    $5 Million Allows Photovoltaic Incentives to Continue on Long Island

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  • August 1, 2013

    CEFIA Finances Two C-PACE Solar Projects in Hartford - Facilities Expected To Save Over $1 Million

    The Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA) has announced the approval of two C-PACE financed solar projects in the City of Hartford. The projects, supported with Zero-Emission Renewable Energy Credits (ZRECs) and financed through C-PACE are part of Governor Dannel P. Malloy’s commitment to cheaper, cleaner and more reliable energy. Today’s announcement follows the announcement last week that Hartford is one of eight municipalities selected for the Statewide Microgrid Pilot Program.

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  • July 1, 2013

    CEFIA Establishes Solar Leasing Public-Private Partnership Providing Open Access to Private Capital for Clean Energy

    Rocky Hill, CT, July 1, 2013 – The Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA) announces the creation of an innovative public-private solar power leasing option for households and businesses in Connecticut as part of the State’s Energize Connecticut Initiative. Building upon the initial Connecticut Solar Lease product, CEFIA and its strategic partners have come together to offer the CT Solar Lease II to the market—new and improved—providing additional opportunities to deploy solar photovoltaic and solar thermal systems throughout the state.

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  • April 18, 2013

    Energy Trust of Oregon increases solar incentives for Oregon businesses

    Goal is to spur more installation of clean energy systems

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  • April 17, 2013

    Sacramento Municipal Utility District Named as Top Solar Utility

    The Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) announced its list of the Top 10 American electric utilities that have added the most new solar power to their systems and the most solar on a watts-per-customer basis in 2012. This annual ranking, which identifies the companies that are integrating solar into the nation's power grid, is part of the sixth annual Utility Solar Rankings report. The full report, which will be released in May 2013, identifies leading solar industry trends such as total installed capacity, market share and industry growth rates.

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  • March 28, 2013

    NY Announces $46 Million Awarded Through NY-SUN for Large Solar Power Installations to Add 52 MW of Solar Capacity

    New Projects Will Significantly Increase New York State’s Leadership in Renewable Energy Production

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  • March 18, 2013

    CEFIA Launches CT Solar Loan Pilot

    Rocky Hill, Conn., – The Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA) announces an innovative loan product to make solar PV more accessible to Connecticut homeowners. The loan product, the CT Solar Loan, is the first of its kind, built specifically for residential solar. The CT Solar Loan, in a pilot phase, will provide an opportunity for homeowners to own solar PV with a small down payment and low monthly loan payments. This is the newest residential financing product offered under the State’s Energize Connecticut initiative, which is intended to help consumers save money and use clean energy.

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  • February 13, 2013

    California Energy Commission Awards $4.8 millin in Energy Loans

    CEC Energy Loans to Cities, Colleges Energy Efficient Upgrades Include Lighting, HVAC, and Solar PV Systems

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  • February 11, 2013

    LIPA and NYSERDA Solar Programs are Shining in New York

    New York Solar Market Shows Significant Promise for 2013

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  • January 31, 2013

    CEFIA Issues Request for Proposals For New Capital Competition Pilot Program

    Pilot Residential Solar PV Capital Competition Announced

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  • January 25, 2013

    Oregon's largest solar array completed with support from ETO

    The 5.7 megawatt solar array, known as Outback, that last year started sprouting up along the landscape in southeast Oregon's Lake County is finished and is generating power.  The solar power plant is made up of 20,000 ground-mounted photovoltaic panels and is expected to generate approximately 10 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year.

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  • January 25, 2013

    2013 Solar Mass Incentive Program Opens

    Solarize Mass created 5.1 megawatts of clean energy in 2012

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  • January 17, 2013

    Solarize CT Doubles Amount of Solar in Pilot Program Towns in Just Five Months

    CEFIA Announces Selection of Communities for Second Phase of Group Purchasing Program

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  • December 13, 2012

    MassCEC Launches $1 Million Program to Lower Cost of Commercial Solar Hot Water Systems

    BOSTON – December 13, 2012 – The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) CEO Alicia Barton McDevitt today announced a new program to assist commercial or non-profit building owners in reducing their water heating bills up to 20 percent by installing solar hot water systems.

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  • November 13, 2012

    Solar Supply Chain Database Promotes Ohio Manufacturing

    Ohio University and the Ohio Development Services Agency to market Ohio’s solar strengths

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  • September 26, 2012

    MASS CEC Solar Incentive Program Deadline Extented Due to High Demand

    Solarize Massachusetts contract deadline moved due to high demand

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  • September 24, 2012

    CEC Releases New Guidebook for New Solar Homes Partnership Program

    California Energy Commission - New Solar Homes Partnership (NSHP) Program, Fifth Edition, Final Adopted Guidebook (2012) adopted September 12, 2012.

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  • August 30, 2012

    Governor Dedicates Maryland's Largest Operating Solar Farm

    The 17.7 MW utility-scale solar farm will produce enough energy to power over 1,700 homes

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  • August 27, 2012

    Solarize Mass Allows Boston to Qualify for Lower Solar Energy Rates
    Boston Locks in Solar Energy Prices Lower than Traditional Energy Sources
    Sept. 30 deadline for Boston residents, businesses to participate in solar program
    BOSTON – August 23, 2012 – Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) CEO Alicia Barton McDevitt today announced that residents and businesses in the city of Boston qualify for lower solar energy rates than rates for traditional sources of energy under the Solarize Massachusetts Program (Solarize Mass).  
    Ms. Barton McDevitt made the announcement during a celebration of a new solar project installation at Dry Dock Plaza Park in Boston. As a result of the city of Boston’s participation in Solarize Mass, the average Boston participant who enters into a contract to buy solar electricity will now pay 11 cents per kilowatt hour, compared to the statewide price of 15 cents per kilowatt hour for traditional energy sources, which can be a mix of coal-fired, nuclear or natural gas generation.
    Residents and businesses have until September 30 to participate in the bulk buying program, which would secure further price reductions as more participants sign up.
    “A national model, this group pricing program locks in electricity prices and rates, and creates a network of locally-grown energy sources while creating local jobs,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan, who also serves as chairman of the MassCEC Board of Directors. “We applaud the city of Boston for its leadership in clean energy adoption.”
    “I encourage everyone to join the clean energy revolution in Boston,” said Mayor Thomas M. Menino, who announced he plans to install solar panels on his home. “Solar power is now more affordable than ever in the City. It’s being installed on residences, businesses and municipal buildings at an increasing rate, and we are on the way to meeting our 2015 goal of 25 megawatts of solar energy in Boston.”
    Under the leadership of Governor Deval Patrick, Massachusetts set a goal of achieving 250 megawatts of solar by 2017. As a result of the Solarize Mass program and other incentives, the state is more than halfway to its goal – with 129 megawatts of solar installed to date – the equivalent of powering more than 20,000 homes and eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from 13,870 cars per year.
    “I hope Boston’s renewable energy leadership will inspire residents in this community and beyond to take advantage of this program that not only cuts energy costs, but creates local jobs,” said MassCEC CEO and Executive Director Alicia Barton McDevitt. 
    To date, a number of residents and businesses in Boston have banded together to participate in the program, contracting 18 solar systems for a total capacity of 89 kilowatts (kW).
    Solarize Mass, which is available in 17 Massachusetts communities including Boston, offers five tiers of discounted pricing based on the total solar capacity contracted under the program. As more residents and businesses contract for solar, the price for solar energy drops. Solarize Mass is administered by MassCEC and the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER).
    “This is a bright day for Boston residents and businesses, as well as for the Menino family,” said DOER Commissioner Mark Sylvia. “Solarize Mass and the 103 Green Communities are helping spread solar power across the 339 of 351 communities that now have at least one state-supported solar electricity project.”
    The average Massachusetts household uses 667 kilowatt hours per month, equivalent to an average $100 monthly bill for traditional energy sources. By installing a solar electric system, Boston homeowners entered into contracts to purchase solar would pay $73 with locked in pricing that hedges against potential future electricity price increases.
    If a Boston participant wants to purchase a solar electric system under the program, the price for a 5 kW system (the average size for a home) is currently $21,000, rather than the state average at the beginning of the program of over $26,000.
    A combination of federal and state incentive programs like Solarize Mass cover the costs of the investment over the lifespan of a solar installation. Under the current pricing, business and homeowners that purchase a 5 kW system could save $7,300 through federal and state tax credits and up to $4,250 in MassCEC rebates. The remainder of the costs would be recovered within approximately five years.
    A committee of Boston volunteers and municipal officials selected a designated installer, Marlborough-based SolarCity.
    Other solar installation incentives
    To offset the cost of installing solar panels, residents and businesses are eligible for a combination of renewable energy incentives including a federal tax incentive of 30 percent and a state tax incentive of 15 percent of the total installation cost, up to $1,000. MassCEC also provides solar rebates through its Commonwealth Solar II Program. Solar projects are also eligible for no and low money down programs through solar installation companies.
    Solar energy systems provide residents and businesses with two possible income streams. First is net metering, which allows residents and businesses to deposit any excess energy they generate as a credit into their utility account. The utility, much like a bank, would house credits that can be drawn down against existing or future energy costs. Second, there is an opportunity – under the Solar Renewable Energy Certificate Program (SREC) – for utilities to pay homeowners and business for the solar power they generate.
    About Solarize Mass
    Solarize Mass, which is a partnership between the MassCEC and DOER’s Green Communities Division, encourages the adoption of smallscale solar projects. The program is available to 17 Massachusetts Green Communities, which were designated by DOER after those communities committed to reducing municipal energy use by 20 percent. The communities are Acton, Arlington, Boston, Hopkinton, Melrose, Mendon, Millbury, Montague, Newburyport, Palmer, Pittsfield, Lenox, Shirley, Sutton, Wayland, Sudbury and Lincoln. Follow the Twitter hash tag #SolarizeMass for more information.
    About MassCEC
    Created by the Green Jobs Act of 2008, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) has as its mission to foster the growth of the Massachusetts clean energy industry by providing seed grants to companies, universities, and nonprofit organizations; funding job training and workforce development programs; and, as home of the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust, supporting the installation of renewable energy projects throughout the state.
    Visit our website:....................................................... 
    Follow MassCEC on Twitter:...........................
    55 Summer Street 9th Floor, Boston, MA 02110  Office: (617) 315-9355 office / Fax: (617) 315-9356

    Media Contacts

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  • August 24, 2012

    Energy Trust of Oregon Supporting Nation's Largest Solar Highway Project

    Nation’s Largest Solar Highway Project Opens to Rest Stop Visitors - Seven-acre Baldock Solar Station features educational displays, sustainable garden

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  • August 22, 2012

    New York Legislation to Make Solar Power More Affordable for Homeowners and Businesses

    Governor Cuomo Signs Legislation to Make Solar Power More Affordable for Homeowners and Businesses - As Part of the NY-SUN Initiative, Bills Will Increase Solar Installations and Lead to New Investments in New York’s Growing Solar Energy Sector

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  • August 21, 2012

    NY-Sun Initiative Makes $107 Million Available for PV Installed at Business, Factories, Municipal Buildings, and C&I Customers

    Governor Cuomo Announces $107 Million Available Through NY-Sun Inititiative for Large Solar Power Installations As Part of NY-Sun Initiative:  Available Funding Doubled Through 2013 to Increase Rate of Solar Power Installations and Reduce and Stabilize Electricity Costs for Businesses

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  • July 26, 2012

    CEFIA Launches 2nd Round of Interim Commercial Solar Hot Water Program

    Rocky Hill, Conn., July 26, 2012 —The Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA) today launched the second round of project solicitations for the Commercial Solar Hot Water Program (Program). The Program has a $2,000,000 budget that will support approximately forty-five solar hot water projects on schools, restaurants, apartment houses, hospitals and other establishments that use a significant amount of hot water.

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  • July 23, 2012

    New Jersey Action to Strengthen Solar Market

    Governor Christie Builds on Record of Growing Renewable Energy Sources with Action to Strengthen Solar Market

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  • July 17, 2012

    SMUD leads the nation in new solar power home construction

    For Immediate Release: July 17, 2012

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  • July 12, 2012

    Solarize Connecticut Program Announces Pilot Towns

    Rocky Hill, Conn., July 12, 2012 —The Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA), The John Merck Fund, and SmartPower announce the launch of Solarize Connecticut, a pilot residential solar program (Program) that aggregates homeowners across communities to offer discounted prices for residential solar power.

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  • July 3, 2012

    CPUC Report - CA Leads the Nation in Customer-Generated Solar Power

    SAN FRANCISCO, July 2, 2012 - The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) today issued its 2012 California Solar Initiative (CSI) Annual Program Assessment, showing that in 2011 California reached a major milestone by becoming the first state in the nation to install more than 1 gigawatt (1,000 megawatts) of customer-generated solar energy; a record 311 megawatts (MW) were installed in the investor-owned utility territories in 2011 alone.

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  • June 15, 2012

    First Contract Signed for SOLARIZE MASS 2012

    June 15, 2012

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  • May 17, 2012

    CEFIA Clean Energy Communities Program Awards PV System

    The Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority Hosts Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at Windsor High School

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  • May 10, 2012

    MA Clean Energy Center Releases New Guide on Residential Solar Power

    For many residents and business owners throughout Massachusetts, installing a solar PV system is a smart investment that converts clean, free sunlight to electricity, reduces air pollution, reduces or eliminates monthly electricity bills, and contributes to the local economy by creating local jobs and supporting local businesses.

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  • April 4, 2012

    MassCEC Issues RFP to Installers for Solarize Mass

    The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) is seeking proposals from solar installers for the 2012 Solarize Massachusetts (Solarize Mass) program, which encourages the adoption of small scale solar PV by deploying a coordinated education, grassroots marketing and outreach effort, combined with a tiered pricing structure that provides increased savings as more people in the community go solar.

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  • September 15, 2011

    LBNL Announces New Solar Report on Installed Cost of PV - "Tracking the Sun IV"

    “Tracking the Sun IV: An Historical Summary of the Installed Cost of Photovoltaics in the United States from 1998 to 2010.”

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  • August 3, 2011

    NYSERDA Announces $20 Million in First Round of $150 Million Program to Help Fund Solar Energy Projects in New York City and Westchester

    The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), in conjunction with the state Public Service Commission (PSC), announced today the award of $20 million in large-scale solar power projects to help facilities in New York City and the lower Hudson Valley generate electricity for their own use. This is the first round of a $150 million, five-year funding program. Another $10 million is available for a second round of proposals due Aug. 10, 2011.

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  • August 2, 2011

    New Tool from the California Energy Commission Helps Homeowners Calculate Value of Their Solar Home

    A new online tool launched today by the California Energy Commission now helps the housing market evaluate the value of solar on California homes. The Solar Advantage Value Estimator (SAVE) will give the industry a long term and cost-effective method for calculating the added value of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems on new and existing solar homes.

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  • July 29, 2011

    New Jersey Surpasses Milestone of over 10,000 Solar Installations

    Press Release by the New Jersey Public Utilites Commission, July 25, 2011.

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  • April 22, 2011

    DOE Solar Energy Technologies Program Publications - March 2011

    Solar Energy Technologies Program (SETP)

    A Guide to Community Solar: Utility, Private, and Non-Profit Project Development (March 2011). This fact sheet summarizes A Guide to Community Solar, a new publication that provides options, examples, and legal and financial considerations for community solar projects.

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  • March 10, 2011

    U.S. Solar Doubled in 2010, May Add 2 Gigawatts to Double Again

    By Ehren Goossens, Bloomberg
    The amount of new solar energy capacity in the U.S. doubled last year and may double again in 2011 because of government incentives, stronger demand and falling prices, a trade group said.

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  • February 9, 2011

    New Solarize Guidebook: A tool for local governments and communities to pursue energy independence

    A new guidebook that shares best practices from recent volunteer-driven Solarize projects about volume purchasing of solar energy systems aims to help other communities grow clean energy programs and create family-wage jobs. The Solarize Guidebook, developed for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the City of Portland, is now available at:

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  • January 1, 2011

    A Guide to Community Solar: Utility, Private, and Nonprofit Project Development

    A Guide to Community Solar: Utility, Private, and Non-profit Project Development is designed by the U.S. DOE to be used as a resource for those who want to develop community solar projects, from community organizers or solar energy advocates to government officials or utility managers. By exploring the range of incentives and policies while providing examples of operational community solar projects, this guide will help communities to plan and implement successful local energy projects. In addition, by highlighting some of the policy best practices, this guide suggests changes in the regulatory landscape that could significantly boost community solar installations across the country.

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  • January 1, 2011

    DOE Releases Solar Powering Your Community: A Guide for Local Governments - Second Edition

    The U.S. Department of Energy developed Solar Powering Your Community: A Guide for Local Governments - Second Edition to assist local governments and stakeholders in building sustainable local solar markets. This second edition of the guide was updated to include new market developments and innovations for advancing local solar markets that have emerged since the first edition was released in 2009. January 2011.

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