A City in Massachusetts is Expanding Its Solar Market

Cities across the country are making solar changes worth talking about – in Massachusetts, Melrose has received a solar award, and for good reason.


, is a city in the Boston metropolitan area with a population of roughly 27,000 people. Recently, Melrose was the recipient of a award – the 2019 Innovation Award.

What is SolSmart? It is a program that is funded by the US Department of Solar Energy Technologies Office. It is given in recognition of cities and regional organizations that simplify the process of going solar while making it more affordable. Communities can receive Bronze, Silver and Gold awards.

Solar Will Be Utilized in More Places

The aforementioned award was given due to an expansion beyond the residential market. Now, solar will be found in places of worship, nonprofits and small businesses. The state of Massachusetts has seen tremendous growth over the years in rooftop solar, but much of it has been centered around small residential solar and large-scale commercial projects. The locations which are part of the expansion for Melrose include First Baptist Church, Melrose Highlands Congregational Church and Green Street Baptist Church.

Serious Solar Savings

Melrose Highlands Congregational Church was able to buy 61.5 kW of solar through an exclusive financing option. The solar panels cover two rooftops and allow the church to claim just over $9,440 incentive revenue (Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target Program) during the first year, to generate their entire electricity usage, and to sell any additional electricity produced to support the organization’s work. How much is expected to be saved by this solar project? More than $15,680 in just the first year, and by year 25, more than $200,000.

Through the solar-friendly program SolSmart, local governments are able to bring new business to their area, to promote economic growth, and nurture new job growth. Across the United States, there are more than 350 designees.

Thanks to local community support and of course clear examples of accomplishment, the solar campaign has seen much success. Melrose partnered with , a Boston-based solar company, which specializes in nonprofit solar finance possibilities, and the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target Program.

For Melrose, mid-sized roofs tend to be a market that is untapped. The approach to target these roofs for solar is one that is efficient. As a matter of fact, as previously touched upon, almost all rooftop solar development has involved residential developments less than 25kW in size, and commercial projects over 300kW in size, as per SolSmart. The markets being targeted in Melrose make up the majority of the nearly 80 percent of addressable rooftop solar market with less than 300kW in capacity.

Melrose: A Solar Innovator

The city of Melrose is certainly deserving of this innovation award. It is great that the potential was recognized and taken advantage of – perhaps the city can serve as a clear model for mid-sized solar roof capabilities for other cities across the country. Perhaps more churches will look into options for clean energy and the benefits they could reap from doing so.

As a whole, the state of Massachusetts has accomplished a great deal in terms of tackling the impacts of climate change by doing what it can to reduce greenhouse gas emissions fast. The Legislature has been quite forward-thinking in terms of enacting clean energy bills. Of course, there are many activists who recognize the power of going solar, too. There is more that can be done everywhere, but it is encouraging to see states and cities making changes that could ultimately be modeled to benefit the entire planet.

Continue following solar news to stay in the know regarding the latest developments. Consider how you can make small changes to improve the health of our planet, whether that might entail going solar at home, and even encouraging businesses in your area to consider solar panels. Solar panels make for energy independence. Energy efficiency is very important to homeowners and businesses alike – homes and businesses should be situated on properties for optimal solar benefits. There are small things we can do to make a difference.

We are all in this together!






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