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Dan Burgess Dan Burgess

Clean Energy Fellow, Department of Energy Resources

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Energy By the Numbers - Solar

Five years ago, Massachusetts had just 3.5 megawatts (MW) of solar power installed. Today, thanks to the leadership of the Patrick-Murray Administration, there are now 72 MW of solar power capacity installed in Massachusetts – enough to power 12,264 homes for a year.

The Commonwealth initiated its first program for solar PV rebates and partnerships in 2001, funded through a small renewable energy charge on electric utility bills.  But solar really took off when, in April 2007, when Governor Patrick announced a goal of 250 MW of installed solar power by 2017 and launched the Commonwealth Solar (CommSolar) program in January 2008.

With installations in 328 cities and towns across the state, this twenty fold increase in solar capacity since January of 2007 highlights the Administration’s commitment to creating a cleaner energy future for the Commonwealth. Investing in clean, healthy, and homegrown energy sources is a vital component of this future as Massachusetts is at the end of the energy pipeline.

Of the $22 billion the Commonwealth spends annually to buy the energy that runs its power plants, buildings and vehicles, 80 percent flows out of state to purchase coal from Colombia, oil from Venezuela, and natural gas and oil from the Middle East and Canada. That’s nearly $18 billion in lost economic opportunity that Massachusetts stands poised to reclaim through investments in home-grown renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Making solar a cornerstone of the Commonwealth’s clean energy economy has created a vibrant industry. In 2007, just 50 solar installers were doing business in Massachusetts, while today there are more than 250 solar installers. Solar energy is the most prominent renewable energy technology area for Massachusetts clean energy companies, with more than two in three renewable energy employers working with solar energy technologies.

For more information about solar power in Massachusetts, visit the Department of Energy Resources or the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center. You can also see how the Commonwealth is progressing towards meeting its ambitious renewable energy goals on the Renewable Energy Snapshot.

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