Washington, D.C. | March 16, 2015 — Showing big gains in all solar sectors, Massachusetts had the fourth most new solar capacity added last year in the nation, according to the recently-released U.S. Solar Market Insight 2014 Year in Review, but finished No. 1 for the first time among Northeast states.
In 2014, Massachusetts added 308 megawatts (MW) of solar electric capacity, bringing its total to 751 MW. That’s enough clean, affordable energy to power more than 120,000 homes. The report went on to point out that Massachusetts biggest solar gains came in commercial installations, but residential installations set a new record, too.
Of the new capacity added, 224 MW were commercial, 64 MW were residential and 20 MW were utility scale. Together, these installations represented a $791 million investment across Massachusetts.
“To put the state’s remarkable progress in some context, the 751 MW of solar installed today in Massachusetts is more than our entire country had installed by 2007. That’s an amazing achievement,” said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “Massachusetts also added more than 3,000 new solar jobs last year – an impressive 46 percent increase over 2013 – and we expect this strong growth to continue. We look forward to working with Gov. Charlie Baker and his administration on ways to develop a long-term framework for solar, which will help to keep the state’s tremendous momentum moving forward.”
Today, there are 368 solar companies at work throughout the value chain in Massachusetts, employing nearly 9,500 people. Massachusetts notable solar projects include:
* Warren Solar Farm was completed by developer First Wind. This photovoltaic (PV) project has the capacity to generate 14 MW of electricity– enough to power over 2,300 Massachusetts homes.
* At 6 MW, Dennis Landfill Solar is among the largest solar installations in Massachusetts. Completed in 2014 by Clean Focus, this PV project has enough electric capacity to power more than 1,000 homes.
* Several large retailers in Massachusetts have also gone solar, including Walmart, Staples, Bed Bath and Beyond, and IKEA.
* Verizon has installed one of the largest corporate PV systems in the state with 1,020 (kilowatts) kW of solar capacity at their location in Billerica.
In addition to a robust commercial sector, Massachusetts’ residential market also showed significant gains last year, with installed system prices dropping again – and down a total of 49 percent since 2010. Nationwide, the U.S. residential market added 1.2 GW of installed capacity in 2014, marking the first time that this growing sector surpassed 1 GW of clean, affordable solar. Residential also continues to be the fastest-growing market segment in the U.S., with 2014 marking three consecutive years of greater than 50 percent annual growth.
From an environmental perspective, solar installations in Massachusetts are helping to offset more than 615,000 metric tons of harmful carbon emissions, which is the equivalent of removing nearly 130,000 cars off state roads and highways or saving 700,000 gallons of gasoline.
“Today, the U.S. solar industry employs 174,000 Americans nationwide – more than tech giants Apple, Google, Facebook and Twitter combined – and pumps nearly $18 billion a year into our economy,” Resch added. “This remarkable growth is due, in large part, to smart and effective public policies, such as the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), Net Energy Metering (NEM) and Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS). By any measurement, these policies are paying huge dividends for both the U.S. and Massachusetts economies, as well as for our environment.”