The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) today applauded an announcement that Massachusetts has surpassed Governor Deval Patrick’s goal of installing 250 megawatts (MW) of solar energy by 2017 and the Administration plans to expand the Massachusetts solar goal to 1.6 gigawatts (GW). The 250 MW benchmark has been met nearly four years ahead of schedule.
Massachusetts is currently ranked 7th 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 250 MW. This growth rate is among the fastest in the nation.
Solar industry leaders praised the new goal. “Based on the capabilities of the growing Massachusetts solar industry and the commonwealth’s solar potential, the new 1.6 GW solar goal is great news, and the solar energy industry welcomes this opportunity to rise to the occasion and meet this new goal,” said Carrie Cullen Hitt, senior vice president of state affairs at SEIA. “Governor Patrick should be commended as a solar champion. We thank him for his leadership.”
Massachusetts has several successful solar initiatives in place, including 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 will 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.”
Today, the U.S. has 7,700 MW of installed solar electric capacity, enough to power more than 1.2 million American homes – and 40 percent of our existing capacity, or 3,300 MW, was installed last year alone. 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.