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Incentives/Policies for Renewables & Efficiency

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Commonwealth Solar Hot Water Commercial Program   

Last DSIRE Review: 10/31/2014
Program Overview:
State: Massachusetts
Incentive Type: State Rebate Program
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Solar Water Heat
Applicable Sectors: Commercial, Industrial, Nonprofit, Schools, Local Government, State Government, Tribal Government, Fed. Government, Multi-Family Residential, Low-Income Residential, Agricultural, Institutional
Amount:Feasibility study: $5,000;
Construction grants: $75*number of collectors*SRCC Rating (Private); $150*number of collectors*SRCC Rating (Public/Non-Profit)
Massachusetts Manufactured adder: $200
Metering adder: Up to $1,500
PV adder: $500
Maximum Incentive:Feasibility study: $5,000
Construction Rebates: 40% system costs or $100,000 (Private); 65% system costs or $100,000 (Public/Non-Profit)
Equipment Requirements:Must be new, OG-100 and OG-300 certified, 10 year warranty (collectors), 2 year warranty (other system components)
Installation Requirements:Must be installed where the collectors will receive at least 5 hours of sunlight a day (75% shade-free).
Funding Source:Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust Fund
Program Budget:2011-2012: $1,000,000; 2012-2016: $10,000,000
Start Date:08/04/2011
Expiration Date:12/31/2016
Web Site:

Feasibility Study Grants

Beginning in August 2011, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) will provide grants* for feasibility studies of commercial solar hot water systems through the Commonwealth Solar Hot Water Commercial Pilot Program. Commonwealth Solar Hot Water Commercial grants are available to electricity customers served by the following Massachusetts investor-owned electric utilities: Fitchburg Gas and Electric Light (Unitil), National Grid, NSTAR Electric and Western Massachusetts Electric. In addition, customers of certain municipal lighting plant (MLP) including Ashburnham, Templeton, Holden, Holyoke and Russell utilities are eligible. Only entities that live in territories that contribute to the MassCEC Renewable Energy Trust Fund are eligible for the grant.

Up to $5,000 is available for private entities, with a cost-share of at least 25%. The cap for public entities is also $5,000 but the cost-share requirement is only 5%. To be eligible, building owners must hire an experienced consultant to do the feasibility work. The project location must be appropriate and must have enough sun and the building must have year-round hot water needs. The application must also demonstrate that the time frame and budget required for the feasibility study are "reasonable." The consultant completes and submits the application and supporting documentation (such as aerial photos, copies of electric bills) on the building owner's behalf. All projects must be approved before feasibility study work begins.

It should be noted that a feasibility study is required to be eligible for construction grants. 

Construction Grants

The same eligibility requirements apply to construction grants as feasibilty study grants. Systems may be installed regardless of the source of back-up heating (not restricted to just electricity back-up). Third-party ownership is permitted. Rebates are calculated by multiplying $75 by the number of collectors and by the SRCC rating (for commercial installations, public installations are eligible for $150 multiplied by the collectors and the SRCC rating). There are adders available for components manufactured in Massachusetts, systems owners who participate in the MassCEC performance monitoring program, and system owners who have installed a solar PV system by the time of their application.

Applications are completed online by the installer.  Pre-approval is required and the installation must occur within 9 months of receiving approval. MassCEC may inspect any system after it is installed.

* Although the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center calls these "grants," these incentives are first-come, first-served and are non-competitive as long as all the eligibility criteria are met. Therefore, it falls under the categorization of "rebate" according to DSIRE methodology.

  Information - Commonwealth Solar Hot Water
Massachusetts Clean Energy Center
55 Summer Street, 9th Floor
Boston, MA 02110
Web Site:
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Disclaimer: The information presented on the DSIRE web site provides an unofficial overview of financial incentives and other policies. It does not constitute professional tax advice or other professional financial guidance, and it should not be used as the only source of information when making purchasing decisions, investment decisions or tax decisions, or when executing other binding agreements. Please refer to the individual contact provided below each summary to verify that a specific financial incentive or other policy applies to your project.

While the DSIRE staff strives to provide the best information possible, the DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. make no representations or warranties, either express or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, reliability or suitability of the information. The DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. disclaim all liability of any kind arising out of your use or misuse of the information contained or referenced on DSIRE Web pages.

Copyright 2014 - 2015 North Carolina State University, under NREL Subcontract No. XEU-0-99515-01. Permission granted only for personal or educational use, or for use by or on behalf of the U.S. government. North Carolina State University prohibits the unauthorized display, reproduction, sale, and/or distribution of all or portions of the content of the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) without prior, written consent.