Aug 15

Competing Interests Fight for Solar Energy Profits

Aug 06

Dirty energy’s quiet war on solar panels

Dirty energy’s quiet war on solar panels

By Basav Sen
August 5, 2017

Let’s say you’re thinking about switching to solar at home, but you’re concerned about the start-up costs.

What if you received generous federal and state tax credits? That could help!

Better still, what if you discover that during those hot, sunny afternoons — when you’re at work and hardly using any energy at home — you can sell the excess energy your solar panels generate back to the grid at the full residential retail rate?

This practice, called “net metering,” helps cut utility bills and shortens the payback period for solar installation costs. That sweetens the deal even more.

But what if you don’t own a home, or can’t afford solar panels?

In some states, you still have options, such as shared solar programs. These allow renters and low-income people to get power from collectively owned solar panels — located, say, on the roof of a public school or other neighborhood building — as I documented in a recent Institute for Policy Studies report. With shared solar, you’d even still benefit from net metering.

And when you contract with a company to install solar panels, you do your part to create jobs. Lots of them.

According to Department of Energy data, solar jobs already outnumber coal-related jobs by a factor of more than 2 to 1, despite solar making up a much smaller share of the overall grid.

All in all, I’d say these incentives make a strong pitch for solar: You can help address climate change, grow the renewable energy economy, create jobs, and save money. Win-win-win, right?

Well, not if you’re in the fossil fuel industry — or one of the politicians who owe them favors. And that’s where things get messy.

In statehouses all over the country, there’s a growing movement by industry front groups to undermine net metering and other renewable energy incentives. These front groups include the Edison Electric Institute, the utility industry’s trade association, and outfits such as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and Americans for Prosperity, both of which are funded by the Koch brothers.

These groups scored recent victories against net metering in Indiana and Maine, and have turned the renewable energy mandate for utilities in wind-rich Kansas — known in the industry as a Renewable Portfolio Standard — into a toothless voluntary goal.

Industry groups and the politicians they effectively buy claim that distributed solar energy imposes costs on customers who don’t install solar panels, because solar users don’t pay their fair share of the costs of maintaining the grid.

Most cynically, they feign concern for poor people. Typical of this is Maine Governor Paul LePage’s claim, in his letter vetoing a bill that would’ve preserved net metering in his state, that the practice “subsidizes the cost of solar panels at the expense of the elderly and poor who can least afford it.”

However, independent energy experts — even those who don’t support net metering in all circumstances — argue that the practice can be a “reasonable proxy for the value of solar.” The case against the utility and Koch-led attack on renewables is strong on logic, but evidently weak on campaign cash, which is why the onslaught of anti-net metering and anti-renewables bills continues.

This state-level push parallels another front at the federal level, where the Trump administration is unabashedly waging war on renewables. The president’s budget proposal eviscerates federal support for clean energy research, and the president has been an unapologetic supporter of the fossil fuel industry.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry joined the fray recently by ordering a study seemingly designed to show that renewables are undermining grid security. Evidently, he also wants to do Edison Electric Institute and ALEC’s dirty work by using the study to attack Renewable Portfolio Standards and wind and solar incentives in the states.

Amusingly, a leaked draft of the study apparently shows that the electric grid is becoming more reliable as wind and solar penetration increase. Apparently career energy experts at the Department of Energy aren’t concerned with the ideological preferences of their political appointee overlords.

The truth is the best antidote to this flood of anti-renewables policies based on fossil fuel-funded misinformation. When people learn the benefits of renewables, they push back against these policies, defying partisan political stereotypes.

In Florida last year, voters rejected a ballot initiative to ban third-party sales and leases of solar panels, even after utilities spent $21 million to promote it — and even as Trump carried the state. Another purple state, Nevada, got rid of net metering — but then reversed course and reinstated it under pressure.

And it’s not just defensive fights either. Strong movements are pushing good energy policy in states all over, such as Hawaii’s mandate for 100 percent of its electricity to come from renewables by 2045, and Oregon’s requirement that 10 percent of shared solar capacity be set aside for low-income people.

By telling the truth — and by organizing like crazy — we can win policies that grow the green economy for everyone, in red states and blue.

Basav Sen directs the Climate Justice Project at the Institute for Policy Studies, a progressive think tank dedicated to building a more equitable, ecologically sustainable, and peaceful society.

Jul 31

Utility Helps Wean Vermonters From the Electric Grid

new-york-times-logo

 

 

 

 

 

Utility Helps Wean Vermonters From the Electric Grid

Green Mountain Power is trying to turn homes, neighborhoods and towns into virtual power plants, driven by economics as well as environmental goals.

By Diane Cardwell

July 29, 2017

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/29/business/energy-environment/vermont-green-mountain-power-grid.html

Ryan Brown working in the control room of Green Mountain Power in Colchester, Vt. Green Mountain can draw on stored power from batteries installed through its programs, reducing the electricity it must pull from the regional transmission system.

 

In a new low-income development that replaced a trailer park here, rooftop solar panels sparkle in the sun while backup batteries quietly hum away in utility closets.

About an hour away, in Rutland, homes and businesses along a once-distressed corridor are installing the latest in energy-saving equipment, including special insulation and heat pumps.

And throughout Vermont, customers are signing up for a new program that will allow them to power their homes while entirely disconnected from the grid.

The projects are part of a bold experiment aimed at turning homes, neighborhoods and towns into virtual power plants, able to reduce the amount of energy they draw from the central electric system. But behind them are not green energy advocates or proponents of living off the land. Instead, it’s the local electric company, Green Mountain Power.

Each unit of the McKnight Lane development in Waltham, Vt., has solar panels installed on the roof.

 

Even as the Trump administration has broken with almost all the world’s nations by renouncing the Paris climate accord, the Vermont program offers just one example of the continuing efforts at the local level to rethink a largely carbon-based power system. The initiatives are driven by financial advantages as well as environmental ones.

Green Mountain’s chief executive, Mary Powell, sees the program here as the best way to please customers while making the system more environmentally and physically sustainable.

“Customers, especially in Vermont with the energy-independence values that people have, want to move more toward self-generation,” she said, seated in a bright orange modernist chair in a meeting area in the company’s open-plan headquarters near Burlington.

“The opportunity for us,” she added, is to lead the transformation of an electric system that depends on power sent along big transmission lines “to a community-, home- and business-based energy system.”

 

Mary Powell, center, president and chief executive of Green Mountain Power, with two other executives at the utility, Robert Dostis and Kristin Carlson.

 

As a practical matter, the less electricity the utility pulls from the regional transmission system, especially at times of peak demand, the less it has to pay in fees, producing savings it can pass on to customers. One way it does this is by remotely controlling the batteries installed through its programs, drawing upon the stored energy as needed.

Recently, Ms. Powell said, Green Mountain used this method to take the low-income development here off the grid’s electricity supply for two hours, saving an estimated $275 in transmission costs while the homes were powered by solar panels or battery storage. The amount saved was small, but such savings could add up over a year if they were realized in enough locations.

The utility, owned by Gaz Métro, a leading natural gas distributor in Quebec, is also working to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions as part of the effort to slow global warming. In 2014, it became a B Corporation. That is a voluntary designation, requiring executives to take into account not just how decisions will affect profit and shareholders, but also how they will affect the public, generally defined as society or the environment.

As part of that mission, Green Mountain became the first utility to offer customers access to Tesla’s Powerwall home battery system when it was released in 2015. Now it is starting a new program, announced in May, that will offer the battery to as many as 2,000 customers for $15 a month over 10 years, or a one-time payment of $1,500. The package will include software and a Nest thermostat, which conserves electricity by adjusting temperatures to comings and goings as well as established routines.

Batteries store power from solar panels at the Stafford Hill Solar Farm in Rutland, Vt.

The idea is that customers, especially when they have solar panels, heat pumps and electric vehicles, will be better able to monitor and manage their energy use. The utility, using Tesla’s software, will be able to call upon the stored energy in the combined batteries to help meet surges in demand, or to sell it on the wholesale market to help balance or smooth out fluctuations within the region.

The efforts have won plaudits from national green-energy advocates who see the utility as a leader in helping redesign the electric system, which is undergoing enormous changes as renewable sources of energy become more popular and other technologies give customers more control. Many utilities see such moves as an existential threat because their profits come mainly from getting a set rate of return that is factored into customer rates.

But Green Mountain Power has “figured out a way to do well and do good in the utility business and keep its regulators, investors and customers all happy at the same time,” said Dan Reicher, executive director of the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance at Stanford and a customer of the utility through a family home in Vermont. “That’s a big deal these days when the rest of the industry is talking about a death spiral.”

Ms. Powell, 56, grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and attended a public high school focused on the arts. She came to the company in 1998 after turning down the job three times. She just couldn’t see herself working for a utility, she said, especially one whose traditional corporate culture was visible in the imposing stone lobby and slate steps that led to the chief executive’s office, hidden behind two private secretaries and outfitted with its own bathroom and shower.

The family on her father’s side — he was an actor and a model for the fisherman on Gorton’s seafood packages — had roots in the state, so she had grown up spending summers there. (Her brother, Michael Powell, is a sports columnist at The New York Times.) After college, she became a technical writer for a money-market fund in New York, working her way up to associate director of operations over the next seven years.

The Stafford Hill Solar Farm was built at a landfill site in Rutland.

<p”>She grew disenchanted with working in finance, so when a house-sitting opportunity in Vermont came up, she and her fiancé quit their jobs and headed north. She figured she would work as a waitress, she said, but ended up taking jobs at a couple of banks and starting a few businesses — including one selling reflective gear for dogs that her husband now runs — that ultimately led to her joining the utility.

First, she tackled the company culture, moving executives from the boxy glass headquarters to the 1980s brick service center, where she works at a stand-up desk in a cluster including other executives as well as the linemen. The office, decorated with reclaimed wood, bright colors and relics of past electric systems, looks more suited to a Silicon Valley start-up than to a typical corporate utility, complete with a treadmill and table-tennis setup in one section and a cluster of fledgling entrepreneurs, winners of an incubator competition, in another.

Then she began trying to make the generating system greener, which led to the move toward a more decentralized system, something few other utilities have tried with such enthusiasm. But in an industry known for caution, Green Mountain can be nimble, in part because it is so small — just 265,000 customers — and has a relatively receptive customer base.

A program that helps provide energy-efficiency upgrades in Rutland, for instance, got its start with a single call. At a weekly leadership team meeting, Ms. Powell asked executives to find a way to bring several technologies together in one dwelling.

Alexis LaBerge, a resident at the McKnight Lane development, can monitor and control the energy efficiency of her home using a control panel.

 

One executive asked Rutland’s mayor if he knew of a family that would be willing to serve as a guinea pig. He suggested Mark and Sara Borkowski, whose century-old house became the first of 161 homes and businesses to take part. Under the program, the utility provides financing for energy upgrades, which participants can pay back over time through their monthly bills.

Green Mountain has still invested in large-scale renewable-power plants, like the Stafford Hill Solar Farm — 11 acres of solar panels and battery banks spread over a landfill behind a town dump — and two wind farms. Those developments have come in for criticism from some residents and officials who object to living near noisy industrial machines and worry about marring the natural beauty that draws residents and visitors to the state. The critics include Gov. Phil Scott, a Republican who opposes putting wind turbines along mountain ridges.

But many customers say they are happy to be part of greening the area’s energy supply, whether for the financial savings, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and slow global warming, or just to make sure the lights stay on in a power failure.

“It’s not really any different than being anywhere else,” said Alexis LaBerge, 27, who was one of the first to move into the low-income development in Waltham from an old house that guzzled fuel to keep the house and hot water heated.

Now, when the power from the grid goes out, as it did one night this spring, she does not have to worry about food spoiling in the refrigerator. “It’s definitely nice being brand-new and having the backup,” she said.

 

Jul 07

Volvo Electrifying Entire Lineup in 2019, But Gas Isn’t Dead

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Starting in 2019, every new Volvo will incorporate at least one electric motor in the drivetrain, although the news doesn’t spell sudden death for the company’s four-cylinder engines.

President and CEO Håkan Samuelsson says this “marks the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car,” which is a grandiose way to introduce his company’s full commitment to hybrids and EVs. Volvo will introduce five all-electric models between 2019 and 2021, two of which will sit under its redefined Polestar brand of high-performance EVs. Everything else will be a plug-in hybrid or a traditional hybrid based on upgraded 48-volt electrical architectures (like that in the 2018 Audi A8). While Volvo remains bullish on its goal for 1 million electrified sales by 2025 and likens the future gas- and diesel-powered hybrids as second fiddle to the full EVs, the automaker can’t afford any decline in traditional powertrains just as it can’t expect a dramatic industry shift to EVs in just four years.

Last year, Volvo said plug-in hybrids would account for 10 percent of its annual car sales starting sometime early next decade. We also knew Volvo would launch one EV in 2019 and begin to offer two plug-in hybrids on every model. But with sales growing—almost entirely thanks to the company’s fresh designs and 2.0-liter engines it can easily sell in all global markets—Volvo’s profit depends on massive volumes of its pretty, fossil-fueled machines. While Volvo designed its Scalable Product Architecture (and new, smaller Compact Modular Architecture) to easily accommodate all-electric, hybrid, and gas-only powertrains, the company is launching the new 40-series and 60-series before any dedicated EVs arrive. With the new XC60, XC90, and S90/V90 keeping the Gothenburg plant churning, don’t think the new Volvo EVs will end up displacing these core gas-powered models as radically as Samuelsson suggests.

As a smaller, niche-driven luxury brand, Volvo has a long way to go before it reaches 1 million annual sales—it hit 534,000 in 2016, trailing Jaguar Land Rover—let alone the 1 million electrified cars it wants to put on the road. But Samuelsson is pushing hard. “When we said it we meant it,” he said. “This is how we are going to do it.”

 

Jul 05

Long-Range EV Market Is Set to Get More Crowded by 2020

bloomberg

 

 

 

 

  • 120 pure EV models will be on the market by 2020
  • Demand set to rise as electric options increase

Source: Bloomberg New Energy Finance

The number of EV models available on the market is rising quickly. The first generation of battery electric vehicles were mostly smaller cars but numerous EV models will soon be available across all segments. This should increase EV demand as consumers have more options to choose from. Volkswagen AG and Daimler AG in particular are pushing hard in the SUV and crossover segment, where they will compete directly with Tesla Inc.’s Model X. Start-ups are also playing a role, with groups like Lucid and NIO aiming to have long-range vehicles on the market by 2019 and 2020. Average vehicle range is rising as battery cost and density improves, with many new vehicles now targeting +300 miles.

View the full report here.

Jul 05

States yanking electric-car incentives and slapping on new fees to pay for infrastructure

CNBClogo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

States yanking electric-car incentives and slapping on new fees to pay for infrastructure

 

http://www.cnbc.com/2017/07/03/states-yank-electric-car-aid-add-new-fees-to-pay-for-infrastructure.html

 

  • A growing number of states are imposing new fees on electric vehicles as officials scrounge for ways to pay for infrastructure projects they say are long overdue.
  • At least five states, including California, passed bills targeting the cars this year, bringing the total number with fees on the books to 13.
  • The charges generally range from $100 to $200 a year.

For drivers of electric cars, going green is starting to take more green.

A growing number of states are imposing new fees on electric vehicles as officials scrounge for ways to pay for infrastructure projects they say are long overdue. At least five states, including California, passed bills targeting the cars this year, bringing the total number with fees on the books to 13. The charges generally range from $100 to $200 a year.

“Safe and smooth roads make California a better place to live and strengthen our economy,” Gov. Jerry Brown said in a statement when the bill passed this spring. “This legislation will put thousands of people to work.”

The passage of the fee in California — home to one of the most prominent names in electric vehicles, Tesla Motors — underscores the shift in sentiment toward the technology. Many states initially encouraged drivers to make the switch to cleaner cars through tax incentives and other measures. But now, cash-strapped and pothole-ridden, states are asking the eco-friendly to pay up.

“We see this as a concerning trend,” said Gina Coplon-Newfield, director of the electric vehicles initiative at the Sierra Club. “We certainly want to see funding raised to support roads and bridges and transit. … But penalizing electric vehicle drivers is not the way to solve this problem.”

Proponents of the fees say the issue is one of fairness. Since 2013, 24 states and the District of Columbia have moved to raise their gas tax, including five states just this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In California, a 12-cent hike in the gas tax is expected to pay for nearly half of the state’s $52.4 billion infrastructure package to repair roads and alleviate congestion.

But since electric cars don’t need gas, those drivers don’t pay the tax — even though they use the same roads as traditional cars. California’s new $100 annual fee on electric vehicles will go into effect in 2020 and is expected to raise $200 million over the next decade.

“This landmark legislation offers counties real hope to catch up on a significant backlog of deferred maintenance,” California State Association of Counties President Keith Carson said in a statement. “We’re finally going to be able to start fixing potholes, improving pavement and making sure our bridges are structurally sound.”

But environmental advocates worry the fees could curtail electric vehicle sales. Edmunds.com estimates the cars account for just 0.6 percent of the auto market. Sales growth has slowed dramatically, from 227 percent in 2013 to just 5 percent last year, according to the data.

In addition to the fees, the Sierra Club counted seven states that have eliminated rebates for purchasing an electric vehicle. Coplon-Newfield said sales plummeted in Georgia after the state enacted new ownership fees and got rid of the incentives.

Also facing extinction: a $7,500 federal tax credit for buying an electric car. The credit expires once manufacturers sell 200,000 vehicles, and major automakers such as Tesla, General Motors and Nissan are on track to hit that limit within the next few years. But advocates are concerned that the credit could wind up on the chopping block even sooner amid sweeping efforts to simplify the tax code.

Genevieve Cullen, president of the Electric Drive Transportation Association, said her organization is willing to help fund infrastructure projects. But she said the current fees are arbitrary. She pointed to the debate in Vermont, where a recent state government report instead recommends postponing electric-car taxes until they make up 15 percent of vehicles on the road. The report projected that would happen in 2025.

“Everyone needs to pay their fair share, but the fact is that we think it’s premature to impose fees on a technology that’s contributing to so many other national, state and local goals,” Cullen said. “As part of a comprehensive fix of infrastructure funding, let’s put everything on the table. … But in the meantime, to create impediments to a new technology that has a lot to offer seems not the best solution.”

Jun 27

Study shows Wellfleet highly vulnerable to climate change

Study shows Wellfleet highly vulnerable to climate change

By Teresa Parker

http://capecod.wickedlocal.com/news/20170627/study-shows-wellfleet-highly-vulnerable-to-climate-change

 

This risk zone map shows the effect of a five-foot sea-level rise on Wellfleet’s shoreline. Source: climatecentral.org

 

WELLFLEET — Dune erosion, septic system failures, the retreat of salt marshes, salt water entering the fresh water supply, more frequent shellfish bed closures because of vibrio and norovirus outbreaks, more ticks and tick-borne illnesses, the loss of roads, beaches and access to shellfishing grants and docks — these are some of the issues Wellfleet will face as a result of climate change over the next 30 years, according to climate researchers. And they aren’t worst-case scenarios.

Some 40 Wellfleet residents gathered on June 12 at Wellfleet Preservation Hall to learn about these problems and discuss what to do about them. The meeting was hosted by Wellfleet Climate Mobilization, an informal group focused on fighting climate change, and by the town’s local comprehensive plan working group.

The workshop was the first in what Assistant Town Administrator Brian Carlson says will be a series on this subject, with the aim of getting climate action into the town’s comprehensive plan update.

Seth Tuler, a research fellow at the Social and Environmental Research Institute in Northampton, opened the session with facts and risk zone maps compiled using National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Tuler said that sea level has risen a foot on our coast since 1900 — that’s beyond the global average of eight inches due to currents. While an additional one- to four-foot rise is expected globally this century, the figure is expected to be higher here. With just a two-foot rise, coastal flooding is expected to more than triple — and that’s not counting storm surge effects.

“What about things that aren’t even in NOAA’s models, like the melting ice sheet?” asked one participant, Robert Shapiro. Tuler explained that there are trends that are not yet well understood and are not in the models.

“It’s not all about sea-level rise and weather,” Tuler added. “Ocean acidification is slowly rising too, and that will have an impact on the growth and health of shellfish.”

The mood in the room was sober at this point, although one could say that it is Wellfleet’s good fortune to have this window on the future — the town was one of three selected for study by Tuler’s team through the MIT Sea Grant program. The other two were towns that depend on crab fishing and lobstering, both in South Carolina.

Since Wellfleet’s shellfishing and tourist economy will both be affected by climate change, the town ranks high among places where so-called social vulnerability is greatest.

There are two different kinds of discussions to have at this stage, according to Tuler. The first is about mitigation: what can we do that can make a difference? The second is about adaptation: what can we live with and how will we do that?

Working in two breakout groups, participants were upbeat as ideas for mitigation flowed. Some focused on individual action. Suggestions ranged from unplugging electronic devices for part of each day to creating ways to share everything from rides to sunny rooftops.

“It all starts with making small, sustainable changes in our daily lives,” Emma Doyle said.

The need for access to good local data, detailed mapping and a way of visualizing the community’s collective carbon footprint were identified. Though some participants pointed out that the federal government’s roles in research and data — including mapping work under way at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution — are under threat from the Trump administration.

There were calls for ways to connect Wellfleet’s efforts with those of other communities, such as paths that will allow people to prioritize walking and biking, and a microgrid shared with neighboring towns.

“Small steps set the example that makes big things possible,” John Riehl said. “But we don’t have a lot of time. We are going to need goals that are big. Big but achievable.”

Tuler then steered the conversation toward adaptation rather than mitigation. “For Wellfleet,” he said, “the big question is probably ‘How do we live with water?’ ”

The discussion quickly converged on three major concerns: the contamination of the aquifer, the failure of septic-based waste management and the loss of the aquacultural economy.

Solutions did not come easily. The possibility of reviving the concept of town-wide water was raised, but the cost of such a system was a big hurdle. Proposals for wastewater systems proved similarly difficult.

A suggestion was made to consider a series of smaller systems where they are especially needed. Alex Hay, who serves on Wellfleet’s wastewater committee, noted that the committee has been learning that “big pipe” solutions aren’t always best and that nitrogen removal can be better done with cluster-based systems that can be both more effective and more affordable.

Carlson asked Hay, whose Wellfleet Shellfish Company handles local oysters and clams, about shellfishermen’s views of adapting to climate change. Hay replied that there was not yet a consensus emerging.

“It’s not denial,” Hay said. “It’s just that when you’re doing all you can to stay the course in small business, it’s hard to redesign your direction at the same time.”

Katie Murphy, a Wellfleet shellfisherman, said that Wellfleet could benefit from one of the commonwealth’s coastal resiliency grants. Several towns on the Cape have had success winning these grants for sand transport studies, dune and marsh restoration, and mapping inundation paths and vulnerable infrastructure. (Brewster has received three grants totaling $514,474 since the program began in 2014. Provincetown has received two totaling $255,125 and Truro was awarded $35,000 in 2016 to map inundation pathways.) Wellfleet has never applied, Murphy pointed out. The town missed the June 2 deadline for this year and should be preparing now to apply next year.

“These grants can be used for the kind of detailed mapping we need, and with an educational aspect that could show us where bridges will be needed and how shellfishing grants will be affected,” Murphy said.

Though the discussion of mitigation — what Wellfleet might change — was high-energy, the conversation about how to adapt to inevitable rising tides was tough.

“This is so daunting,” Gail Ferguson said. “Part of me just wants to go home and put my head in the sand.”

“It’s easy to be overwhelmed and freak out,” Tuler said. His advice for planners is to consider what he calls “low regret” strategies — improvements that will make life better no matter what.

“I think on this issue it’s important to do our near-term update with 2050 in mind,” Carlson said as participants stacked their chairs after the meeting. “Towns don’t usually try to plan that far out. But what this is showing is that there are some things we can get started on now.”

 

Jun 26

Cape Light Compact Residential Energy Efficiency Program

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Jun 23

2017 NISSAN LEAF

Nissan2017Leafclick image above to learn more about the Nissan Leaf

Jun 23

Cape Light Compact Accepting Applications for Low Income Solar Grants

CapeCodDaily

 

 

 

 

 

Cape Light Compact Accepting Applications for Low Income Solar Grants

June 23, 2017

http://www.capecod.com/newscenter/cape-light-compact-accepting-applications-for-low-income-solar-grants/

The Cape Light Compact is accepting applications for its new Low Income Solar Revolving Grant Program.

The program will fund 100 percent of equipment and installation costs of solar photovoltaic systems on affordable housing properties to reduce electric bills for low-income homeowners and renters, along with benefiting the environment by adding renewable electricity to the grid.

After installation, the system and the electricity it produces will be owned by the homeowner. The grant recipient will assign the Renewable Energy Certificates that the system produces over its lifetime to the Compact. The RECs will then be sold and the proceeds will be reinvested back into the revolving grant fund to continue the installation of future systems.

The initial round of awards through the program is funded by a $250,000 grant from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and a $125,000 match from the Compact. The grant match is funded by former Cape Light Compact Green power supply customers, who chose to opt-in to a renewable power supply product and pay a small premium to support local renewable energy sources.

“We are also proud to be partnering with locally-based solar installation companies as part of this grant program, making this program a win-win for the homeowner, our local economy, and our environment,” said Maggie Downey, the administrator of the Cape Light Compact.

For more information on eligibility requirements and the application process, visit capelightcompact.org/solargrant. Funding is limited and usually awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Eligible applicants are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

 

 

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