When Will MA Solar Stimulus Program Reopen?

When Will MA Solar Rebate Program Reopen?The Commonwealth Solar Stimulus program for Massachusetts provides rebate funding for commercial solar installations over 10 kW.  Block 1 and Block 2 of this funding both sold out in just a few hours.  If you’re interested in a commercial solar installation in Massachusetts, you will have to make the necessary arrangements before the funding is released.

There are actually two rebate programs for photovoltaic (PV) projects in Massachusetts – the Commonwealth Solar II Rebate and the Commonwealth Solar Stimulus Program.  Your potential solar panel installation will qualify for one or the other, not both. Both rebates are for grid-tied photovoltaic systems for customers of municipal lighting plants in Ashburnham, Holden,Holyoke, Russell, and Templeton and customers of the followingMassachusetts utility companies: Fitchburg Gas and Electric Light(Unitil), National Grid, NSTAR Electric, and Western MassachusettsElectric.   

 The Commonwealth Solar Stimulus Program is exclusively for PVsystems that are 10 kW to 200 kW at commercial, industrial,institutional, and public facilities.  Rebates are based on a tieredsystem: $1.50 per watt for 1-25 kW, $1.00 per watt for 25-100 kW, $.50per watt for 100-200 kW.  For projects smaller than 10 kW, please referto the Commonwealth Solar II rebate program.

Block 1 of the Commonwealth Solar Stimulus was released at 2 pm onJanuary 27 and an email was sent out saying they had sufficientapplications by 5:38 pm.  Similarly, Block 2 opened at 9 am on the April 9th and subsequently closed just before noon.  Each block is made up of $4 million in funding.  Projects will not remain in thequeue for the next round if their application was not accepted. Therefore, there’s equal opportunity for all commercial solar projects to get funding from Block 3.

Unfortunately, the MassCEC, which is the governing body managing thePV rebates, is not announcing when Block 3 of the Solar Stimulus willbecome available.  So if Block 1 sold out in about four hours, and Block 2 sold out in less than three, does it mean Block 2 will sell out intwo?  There’s a lot of competition for these rebates and that creates aflurry of uncertainty.  Solar installers and commercial customers alike are anxious to find out if their project will make the next round of funding. 

The best way to have a fair shot at getting your rebate approved isto be prepared in advance.  As you can see from the dates and times from the previous blocks of funding, there’s no rhyme or reason to the timewhen the next block of funding becomes available. That means you willhave to be in contact with a solar installer to make sure your application is ready to go before the next block is released.  Then all the pressure will be on your solar installer to hit “send” as soon as the announcement is made.

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