PV progress is happening everywhere across the Commonwealth. In 2007, a few handfuls of photovoltaic (PV) projects had a peak capacity of about 3.5 megawatts (MW). At the end of 2010, we will have over 2,600 projects completed or under construction totaling 70 MW of capacity. This phenomenal growth didn’t happen by accident. The private sector’s new appetite for solar power is a direct response to the clean energy leadership demonstrated by Governor Patrick and the Legislature in passing the Green Communities Act, and new regulations written by the Departments of Energy Resources and Public Utilities since the bill became law in 2008.
One example of the new solar activity in the Commonwealth is Western Massachusetts Electric Company’s (WMECO) 1.8 MW project at the former GE manufacturing site in Pittsfield. Utilizing a provision of the Green Communities Act that allows electric distribution utilities to install its own solar generating capacity, with DPU approval, WMECO developed this project on Superfund clean-up site, which has now been put to its highest and best use. The site is producing electricity with no impact on the environment, and the solar installation is mounted on top of the site with no disturbance of the ground. Long-term residents say this is the first time in their lives that anything positive has been associated with this site. What’s more, WMECO was able to complete this project at one of the lowest costs of any PV project in the state, and in the process has learned how to bring the cost down on future projects.
I recently attended the ribbon-cutting for this new project. Here is a link to a cool time-lapse photo depiction of its construction.
Banking on Residential Solar Power posted on Sep 16
“It’s a house, it’s a car, it’s a … solar panel?” In the coming months, the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) is hoping a new residential solar loan program will spark that question and interest in renewable power at local lending institutions across the Commonwealth. …Continue Reading Banking on Residential Solar Power
Building Efficiency Gurus Exchange Ideas on Just About Everything posted on Sep 5
The American Council for Energy Efficient-Economy (ACEEE) selected me to present a paper on the Commonwealth’s Green Communities Program at ACEEE’s Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings. It felt like going to college – the seniors all knew each other, while the freshmen were …Continue Reading Building Efficiency Gurus Exchange Ideas on Just About Everything
Comparing Homes – Energy-Saving Enters the Equation posted on Aug 28
Until recently, there was no way to easily figure energy efficiency into a home buying decision. Enter HomeMPG, a Massachusetts energy-saving initiative to pilot an energy performance score (EPS) in residential homes. This “asset” rating that’s analogous to a car’s MPG rating. Behavior is taken out of the equation so that any home’s energy use can be compared to any other home, allowing for an apples-to-apples comparison.