MV gets share of $4 million in state solar energy tax dollars

Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) secretary Ian Bowles Tuesday announced a second round of federal stimulus funding to install 3.8 megawatts (MW) of solar power at 46 sites throughout the Commonwealth.

Three Chilmark projects, one in Edgartown and one in Tisbury, will be funded in this second rebate round. They include Grey Barn Real Estate Holding, LLC 2, 26.73 kW: $ 39,230; Grey Barn Real Estate Holdings, LLC 1, 26.73 kW: $ 39,230; Grey Barn Real Estate Holdings, LLC 3, 17.82 kW: $26,730 of Chilmark; Massachusetts Audubon Society — Felix Neck; 14.40 kW: $21,600 of Edgartown; and Northern Pines Farm, 59.85 kW:$72,350 in Tisbury.

This is the second round of awards under the Commonwealth Solar Stimulus program, which funds solar projects generating from 5 kilowatts (kW) to 200 kW of power each. Commonwealth Solar Stimulus’ first round, announced in April, provided $4 million in rebates to 56 solar projects throughout the state, according to a press release.

“Thanks in large part to the Commonwealth Solar program, growth in solar power continues to drive our new clean energy economy,” Gov. Deval Patrick said. “This latest round of grants will bring this source of home-grown power to 46 more sites across Massachusetts.”

“Our administration has made it a priority to support and grow the clean energy industry in Massachusetts, and this second round of funding reflects our commitment to this industry,” Lieutenant Gov. Timothy Murray said.

Between January 2008 and December 2009, Commonwealth Solar’s initial phase awarded nearly 1,300 rebates for residential, commercial and municipal projects capable of generating 23.5 MW of electricity —enough to annually power nearly 3,750 homes in Massachusetts. On the heels of that success, in late January MassCEC launched two new solar rebate programs — Commonwealth Solar II and Commonwealth Solar Stimulus. The first round of Commonwealth Solar Stimulus, which assists solar photovoltaic (PV) systems sized up to 200 kW, received 86 applications in less than five hours, according to the release.

The second $4 million round of rebates opened April 9 and was fully subscribed in less than an hour. Funding for the program comes from $8 million in State Energy Program funding awarded to the Department of Energy Resources under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

“Solar energy is already making Massachusetts homes and businesses more energy efficient and putting money back in the taxpayers’ pockets. These rebates will create jobs, reduce our dependence on foreign oil and protect the environment,” Senator John Kerry said.