The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) and Department of Energy Resources (DOER) have extended the deadline of Round 1 of the Solarize Mass solar group-buying program to Oct. 31, citing high demand. The round was originally scheduled to conclude at the end of September.
Meanwhile, the commonwealth has begun soliciting requests for proposals (RFPs) for Round 2 of the program. Massachusetts communities that want to participate are asked to submit applications by Oct. 22.
‘The first and second rounds of the Solarize Mass program function independently,’ says Elizabeth Kennedy, program director for solar at the MassCEC. ‘The extension of the first round will give installers time to close deals with interested residences and businesses. The RFP for the second round is just the beginning of the process to get more communities signed up.’
Under the program, participating installers in designated communities provide reduced pricing to residences and businesses. The idea is that installers can put up photovoltaic systems more efficiently by serving customers in a concentrated geographic area.
According to Kennedy, the first round of the successful incentive program experienced a late rush, and many participating installers got behind on the paperwork. As the installers went about their business, performing site inspections and starting installation work, it produced something of a ‘peer effect’ from interested neighbors.
‘Many people who maybe had not heard of the program or had never considered the technology wanted to participate when they saw their neighbors doing it,’ Kennedy says. ‘We have seen a higher rate of solar adoption after a program than during it.’
In the first two years of the Solarize Mass program, 21 cities and towns participated, contracting more than 900 solar electricity systems with more than 5.5 MW of total capacity.