Massachusetts’ Solar-to-Market Initiative: Using a Collaborative Approach to Create PV Programs

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Case Study

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The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MTC) has created a novel collaboration with the photovoltaics (PV) industry in the state that has resulted in a new industry group and a consensus set of PV programs. MTC has committed $10 million toward the programs. The process could be an effective model to reduce differences within any renewable energy industry and to produce a consensus set of programs that fit the mission of the clean energy fund. Innovative Features The situation facing MTC in late 1999 was problematic for both the fund and the PV industry. MTC had not yet developed a PV program, and the organization's strategic direction did not identify PV development as a near-term programmatic objective. Yet various PV proponents had submitted a significant number of unsolicited requests to the Trust for funding assistance. The proposed solution was a collaboration with the following innovative elements:

  • MTC provided funding to establish the professionally managed Solar Energy Business Association of New England (SEBANE).
  • MTC also provided funding to enable SEBANE to participate in the Solar-to-Market Initiative (SMI) (see below), as well as regulatory proceedings that affect solar and other distributed generation technologies.
  • MTC established the Solar-to-Market Initiative (SMI) as a collaborative effort of MTC, SEBANE, and other interested parties to develop a set of programs designed to expand the production and use of solar technologies.
  • After completing a "state-of-the-industry" report, SEBANE, its consultants, and MTC staff engaged in a year-long collaborative effort (funded by MTC) to develop a set of joint SMI program recommendations.
  • SMI programs are divided into two areas: PV installations and PV business development. This consensus package would not have been produced without MTC funding to bring in consultants to assist in managing the process and in drafting collaborative program designs.

Results The collaboration has resulted in a $10 million package of consensus PV programs that were approved by the MTC Board in March 2002. Several of the programs have been translated into solicitation documents that were released in early April 2002. The result is a set of programs that supports both PV installations and the development of the PV industry through loans and other program offerings. The conflicting demands of the industry have been addressed through a functioning trade organization that has minimized those conflicts and become a productive collaborative ally of the fund.

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Case Studies of State Support for Renewable Energy

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