On February 7, the Baker-Polito Administration announced that Massachusetts has installed more than 2,000 megawatts (MW) of solar electricity through 78,646 projects across the state. The achievement represents the culmination of various projects that make Massachusetts a leader in clean energy and energy efficiency and help the Commonwealth meet greenhouse gas reduction requirements set out by the Global Warming Solutions Act.
Massachusetts’ clean energy industry continues to be a nationwide leader, now employing a total of 109,226 workers. The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s recently published 2017 Industry Report details the sustained growth of the industry, which now contributes $11.4 billion to the Gross State Product, or 2.3% of the entire Massachusetts economy.
Massachusetts’ clean energy industry has been buoyed by the success of the solar sector – almost 50% of all solar capacity in the state has been installed in the last two years. In that same time, Massachusetts ranks second in the United States for total solar jobs and sixth in the nation for new installed solar capacity.
Solar growth has been a hallmark of the current Administration, with 56,031 solar projects accounting for 1,239 MW coming online since Governor Baker took office in 2015. A host of programs, such as Solarize Mass, Mass Solar Connect, and Mass Solar Loan, seek to encourage the adoption of solar electricity among residential communities, businesses, and public facilities. Solar capacity in the state will continue to grow under the Department of Energy Resource’s (DOER) new Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) program, a long-term, sustainable solar incentive program meant to promote cost-effective solar development. DOER is still in the process of designing the new program, but plans indicate it will support an additional 1,600 MW of solar capacity at half the estimated price of existing programs. With policies like SMART in place, Massachusetts will continue to be a leader in solar growth and clean energy innovation.