Boston- On a rooftop overlooking bustling Boston Harbor, Governor Deval Patrick announced that Massachusetts met his goal of getting 250 megawatts (MW) of solar capacity installed in Massachusetts by 2017 – four years ahead of schedule and that he was dramatically expanding the goal to 1600 MW by 2020, – a commitment Environment Massachusetts has been campaigning for the Governor to announce.
“When Governor Patrick set his solar goal 6 years ago, many thought it was just aspirational. In fact, it was inspirational, ” said Johanna Neumann, regional director with Environment Massachusetts. “Our success to date should give state leaders the confidence that we can take solar to the next level.”
There has been a 70-fold increase in solar capacity since Governor Patrick set the 250 MW goal in April of 2007. Last year, 110 MW of solar was installed in Massachusetts, due largely to strong state policies and widespread public support.
In August of 2012 Governor Patrick signed a bill that expanded “net metering”, allowing more people to sell their excess solar energy back to the grid. In addition, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s Solarize Massachusetts has partnered with local governments to make solar more affordable and more accessible in communities across the commonwealth.
Environment Massachusetts has seen enormous public support for solar power. In March, prior to a hearing on the states solar requirement, 59 towns, businesses, and environmental and public health groups signed onto a letter calling on the Governor to build on the Commonwealth’s solar successes by quadrupling the solar goal and committing to at least 50,000 solar roofs by the end of the decade.
Additionally, more than 1,300 people sent messages to the Governor and more than 17,000 signed petitions to the Governor urging him to expand his goal.
“Governor Patrick and other Massachusetts leaders have put Massachusetts on track to be the nation’s solar leader,” said Neumann. “We can get there by committing to this next set of bold and achievable goals.”