CESA Awarded $1.5 million from U.S. Department of Energy to Reduce Solar Costs across New England

The award will be used to build a five-state partnership to reduce the costs of solar in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont, and to create more streamlined, consistent solar application processes for the region's 13 million residents.

Montpelier, VT — Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA), a national nonprofit organization that works with state leaders, federal agencies, industry leaders, and other stakeholders to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency in the United States, has been awarded a $1.5 million funding award under the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) SunShot Initiative Rooftop Solar Challenge II program. The award will be used to build a five-state partnership to reduce the costs of solar in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont, and to create more streamlined, consistent solar application processes for the region's 13 million residents.

The Rooftop Solar Challenge II incentivizes teams to make it easier and more affordable for Americans to go solar through competitively-awarded funding. By streamlining permit processes, updating planning and zoning codes, improving standards for connecting solar power to the electric grid, and increasing access to financing, teams will clear a path for rapid expansion of solar energy and serve as models for other communities across the nation. The Rooftop Solar Challenge II is part of the SunShot Initiative, which strives to make solar energy fully cost-competitive with other forms of energy by the end of the decade.

The New England Solar Cost-Reduction Partnership, managed by CESA, will help build the regional solar market by targeting non-hardware "soft" costs for photovoltaic (PV) electricity systems and increasing coordination across Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The partnership will refine and deploy innovations developed in Connecticut and Massachusetts for DOE's Rooftop Solar Challenge I, and more widely implement solar best practices from across the region.

Under this award, CESA and these five New England states will tackle a range of barriers to PV deployment, including permitting and interconnection standardization challenges; the need for new financing tools; and planning and zoning rule variations. States will also work to implement "Solarize" group-purchasing programs within the region.

"Information sharing among the states and better understanding of the needs of stakeholders will help us identify efficiencies, potential collaborative activities, and opportunities for reducing soft costs," said Warren Leon, Executive Director of CESA. "These states are all committed to the common goals of reducing the cost of solar electricity and building a strong regional market. We are excited to be partnering with them for this project."

"We are honored to receive this funding from the Department of Energy for CESA's work to advance solar energy with the New England states," said Lewis Milford, Founder of CESA and President of the Clean Energy Group. "Increasing our nation's supply of no-carbon clean energy is crucial. Though we are enthusiastic to be working with our New England partners, our efforts to advance the deployment of solar energy go beyond the Northeast. We look forward to working with other states and regions in developing this important domestic energy resource in the coming years."

The lead state agencies for this project are Connecticut's Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA), the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (MA DOER), the New Hampshire Office of Energy and Planning (NH OEP), the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources (RI OER), and the Vermont Public Service Department (VT PSD).

Several municipalities have been selected to participate in this project, including:

*The City of Bridgeport, CT
*The City of Middletown, CT
*The Town of Manchester, CT
*The City of Boston, MA
*The City of Cambridge, MA
*The Town of Winchester, MA
*The City of Berlin, NH
*The City of Concord, NH
*The City of Keene, NH
*The City of Nashua, NH
*The City of Providence, RI
*The Town of Richmond, RI
*The City of Burlington, VT

Additional state agencies, major utilities, and other stakeholders will be key partners in this project.

To learn more about the New England Solar Cost-Reduction Partnership or CESA's other projects to promote clean energy deployment, contact Nate Hausman at (802) 223-2554 or Nate@cleanegroup.org.

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