Check out the article below in which
Edward Whitaker, Second Generation Energy's Director of Business and
Development, was quoted.
Solar Panel Installers Like the Weather Here
published: Oct 14, 2011, Boston Business Journal by James M.
Despite the dings that solar energy manufacturing has taken, Massachusetts
is a pretty sunny
place if you are among the folks who install solar panels for a living.
Not only are local solar installers busy, the Bay State is attracting big
national and regional
players who want a piece of the business where incentives make solar the right
many home owners and businesses.
“We have seen an increase in the activity here in Massachusetts based on the
number of solar
installers that have started here or have come in from other states,” said Mark
commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources.
Sylvia noted that the number of installers doing business under the
Energy Center’s Commonwealth Solar program has grown to 301 today from 134 in
said that low global prices for solar panels, incentives — some of them driven
funds — and Gov. Deval Patrick’s goal of generating 250 megawatts of solar
power by 2017
are making Massachusetts one of the more attractive states for installers. That
total capacity is
59 megawatts today. A megawatt is enough to power about 100 homes.
Edward Whitaker, executive director of
business development at Second Generation Energyin Hopedale, said business is booming for
installers, in part due to the state’s Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SREC) program, but that it
may not stay that way. He noted that the SREC program offers a strong incentive, but that
it could have a limited shelf life. “Massachusetts has turned into a cutthroat business in
residential. That’s not what we are. I think there is still some shakeout coming. Some people are
selling leases at a loss, and we’re not sure they are going to be around in five years.”
One out-of-state company that was drawn to Massachusetts is Independence Solar of
NewJersey, and now with an office in Boston. “Business is doing well.
Massachusetts is a new market for us. The state recently enacted an SREC program, so that laid out a
path for continued growth in Massachusetts,” said vice president James Schwartz. He said
New Jersey’s SREC program is already over subscribed.
Schwartz added that while Massachusetts is particularly high on solar, there is
growing interestin solar across the country, due in part to Europe’s woes. “There has been
renewed interest in the U.S. Europe had been the leader in solar, but with the economic problems
there they arereining in some of the subsidy programs. So manufacturers are looking for new
markets, and they are turning to the U.S.,” said Schwartz.
Another new entrant in Massachusetts is Maryland-based Astrum Solar, which
opened an office
in Hopkinton.“Massachusetts has always been on our radar screen,” said Michelle Waldgeir,
president for marketing. The market has been very responsive from a solar
the incentives in place in your market are making it so folks at all levels can
Waldgeir reports that nature of solar installation companies is changing as the
“When we started, the competition was the local electrical contractor. Over
time, what has
happened is that it started to be regional companies. Now what happens is the
companies are affiliated with a national company,” said Waldgeir.