Mayor Menino Announces New Residential Solar Program to Help Residents Go Green
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For Immediate Release
June 21, 2011
Released By:
Environment, Energy, and Open Space
For More Information Contact:
Mayor's Press Office
Press.Office@cityofboston.gov

Mayor Thomas M. Menino today launched Renew Boston’s Residential Solar Pilot program to encourage Boston homeowners to invest in clean renewable energy. The program is possible due to a $140,000 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) for small residential solar photovoltaic (PV) installations by providing matching rebates to Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s Commonwealth Solar II program. Average residential rebates are expected to range from $1,000 to $3,000 in addition to state and federal incentives and will bring average payback of a residential PV installation to less than 4 years. Participating Boston residents are required to invest in energy efficiency improvements and must also complete an energy assessment from Renew Boston or MassSave.

“Our ambitious climate action strategy requires residents and businesses to do their part in embracing clean energy solutions,” Mayor Menino said. “Our new solar incentive program will help residents take the next step in greening their home through solar energy, saving money on utility bills and creating green jobs.”  

Mayor Menino made the announcement at the home of Jamaica Plain residents Katharine Kilbourn and Scott Shear who installed a solar PV system on their roof this spring. Using Boston-area based SunBug Solar, Katharine and Scott installed a 4.6 kW system which powers 90% of their annual home electricity needs and on a sunny day supplies additional energy back to the electricity grid.

The new residential solar pilot program is the latest initiative in the mayor’s plan to make Boston one of the greenest cities in America. The City has also developed an online Solar Map and released a comprehensive Solar Permitting Guide to streamline the design and permitting process and motivate property owners to install solar systems.

The mayor also unveiled the latest municipal solar installation on the Boston Water and Sewer Commission Headquarters at 980 Harrison Avenue. The 240 kW solar photovoltaic system is made up of 1,080 Sharp panels and was installed by Fischbach and Moore Electrical Group and is the largest installation in the city’s portfolio, now totaling 396 kW.  In addition, the City of Boston Archives Building in West Roxbury is in the design phase of a 140 kW solar photovoltaic system use ARRA funds.  

The online Solar Map tracks all clean energy projects developed in the city and allows property owners to "point and click" on their property to estimate the solar potential of their rooftop. This effort to advance solar along with the City’s green building and wind energy zoning provisions furthers Mayor Menino’s commitment to promote the advancement of green and renewable energy development projects in Boston. The Solar Guide and the Solar Map are available on the City of Boston website at: www.cityofboston.gov/environmentalandenergy.

The City expects the Pilot will offer a range of ownership options to Boston residents including residential PPAs/leases and direct solar ownership. Final program design parameters and incentive levels are under development and will be discussed with qualified respondents after the close of this solicitation.

“Incentives at the federal, state, and city level are now putting solar energy within reach of Boston residents, said Jim Hunt, Boston’s Chief of Environment and Energy. “Mayor Menino’s clean energy agenda is not only saving residents money and creating good local jobs, it’s also enhancing Boston’s reputation as a global clean tech hub.”      

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