Massachusetts Extending Solar Hot Water Program to Commercial Buildings

Posted by Devin Maguire

The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) recently announced it will offer grants to help building owners finance commercial solar hot water (SHW) programs. MassCEC is currently accepting applications for pre-design study grants of up to $10,000. Starting in September, they will begin accepting applications for design and construction grants. Awards will be based on project size and collector’s efficiency rating.

The new pilot program for commercial buildings is an extension of the MassCEC’s Pilot Residential Commonwealth Solar Hot Water program which has already awarded over $200,000 since February 2011 to help fund 110 SHW systems for homes in Massachusetts. The new program will help owners of commercial buildings and large multi-family homes install SHW systems. The Massachusetts SHW program will offer $1 million in non-competitive grants.

SHW systems use solar heat to augment a home or building’s existing hot water system. They share aesthetic qualities with solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, but instead of producing an electric current, they directly heat water and heating systems. According to a MassCEC announcement, SHW systems usually produce 50 to 75 percent of a building’s hot water needs. With the price of traditional water heating methods like oil, gas and electric on the rise and the availability of state grants, SHW systems pay for themselves more quickly making them economic and environmentally conscious.

In addition to promoting clean energy and reduced cost, solar energy programs have contributed to a growing environmental industry in Massachusetts. According to the MassCEC announcement, “Employment in solar manufacturing, installation, and services has increased nearly three times since Governor Patrick first too office, and solar manufacturing jobs along have close to triples from 2007 to 2010.”

The residential solar program promotes Massachusetts manufacturing by awarding an additional rebate if the system includes components made in-state. In addition, the $200,000 granted through the residential SHW program has already helped sell nearly $1.6 million of SHW systems in the state.

Massachusetts currently ranks third in the country in clean energy leadership according to the Clean Edge Leadership Index. Through programs like the SHW programs, Massachusetts is proving that clean energy can also be economic energy by reducing dependence on expensive non-renewable resources while promoting environmental industries.

For more information or to apply for a grant, visit

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Posted by Devin Maguire on Aug 22 2011. Filed under Business, Top Stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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