Two Massachusetts programs will keep solar power subsidies alive

Two new programs in Massachusetts will provide subsidies for solar power projects, the state announced this week.

TheBay State’s original solar subsidy, the Commonwealth Solar Fund, ranout of money in October due to overwhelming popularity. It wasadministered by the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust, which isfunded through a surcharge on residents’ electric bills. The surchargeamounts to about 50 cents per month per customer, the trust says.

Nowthe trust will be responsible for overseeing one of the new solarincentive programs, dubbed Commonwealth Solar II. It will provide $4million of rebates per year – but only for projects generating 5 orfewer kilowatts of electricity.

The second rebate plan will befunded with $8 million federal stimulus monies. It will provide rebatesfor installations between 5 and 200 kilowatts in size, the Boston Globereported.

A separate provision of Massachusetts’ announcement isa solar credit program, which will require utilities to buy theelectricity that homes’ and businesses’ solar panels generate.

UnderMassachusetts’ renewable energy portfolio standard, utilities will haveto generate 15 percent of energy renewably by 2020, with 1 percentincreases each year thereafter.

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