Home Rule Petition Would Allow More Harvard Residents to Benefit from Solar Power

BOSTON— Legislation that would help establish a shared community solar garden in the town of Harvard sponsored by Senator Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton) and Representative Jennifer Benson (D-Lunenburg) received a favorable report from the Joint Committee on Revenue on Thursday, June 12th. S.2138, An Act relative to community shared solar energy systems in the town of Harvard, would allow residents participating in the Harvard community solar garden to rely upon the same solar tax benefits as residents who installed solar panels on their homes.

“I was happy to file this home rule petition, passed at Town Meeting, and am pleased that the Joint Committee on Revenue acted so quickly in reporting the bill out favorably,” said Senator Eldridge. “I have great affection for the persistence of the founding members of the Harvard Community Solar Garden, and their commitment to ensuring that more residents can choose to power their homes with solar power, and not fossil fuels.”

“It is delightful to see the Town of Harvard contributing to the Commonwealth’s clean energy efforts,” said Representative Jennifer Benson. “The municipality and surrounding communities, have been interested in solar energy projects for over two years, but had few options due to property limitations. As a result, they joined together to create a community shared solar energy system. Their leadership in creating a successful shared solar energy project is remarkable, and sets a great example for other cities and towns in the Commonwealth, and nation.”

“This legislation advances the town of Harvard’s desire to enable community shared solar implementation on the same basis as PV solar installed on-site – exempt from increased local tax assessment for twenty years,” said Worth Robbins, Project Manager of the Harvard solar gardens. “Harvard Solar Garden members are grateful to Senator Eldridge and Representative Benson for their ongoing support of Harvard’s journey toward renewable energy adoption, public and private.”

“I’m very pleased that the Joint Committee on Revenue decided to report out favorable on our Home Rule petition, S.2138, An Act relative to community shared solar energy system,” said Stuart Sklar, Chair of the Harvard Board of Selectmen. “The Town of Harvard passed it by a large majority at Annual Town Meeting. Hopefully this legislation will be a model to help further the adoption of Solar Power generation in the Commonwealth. We appreciate the help and support of Senator Jamie Eldridge and Representative Jen Benson, and the Joint Committee on Revenue to carry out the will of the town to promote a sustainable energy future.”

A ribbon cutting at the first member owned community shared solar garden in Massachusetts will be held on Friday, June 27th at 10 a.m. at 295 Ayer Road in Harvard, Massachusetts. The Harvard Solar Garden was conceived as an outgrowth of the first Solarize Massachusetts pilot program by a coalition of ordinary and extraordinary folks who were unable to install solar photovoltaic electric panels on their own roofs due to shading or older roof conditions who decided to band together to create a community shared solar array that would offset their individual electric bills. Engineering and design assistance was provided by Solar Design Associates, a local Harvard business in operation since 1974, and coincidentally located directly across the street from the new solar garden.



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