Bill Would Make Harvard Community Solar Garden Tax-Exempt
BOSTON— S2138, An Act Relative to Community Shared Solar Energy Systems in the Town of Harvard, the Harvard community solar legislation was signed into law by Governor Patrick, allowing for community shared solar energy systems within the town to be exempt for taxes for 20 years after installation. This legislation, sponsored by Senator Eldridge (D-Acton) and Representative Jennifer Benson (D-Lunenburg), will effectively allow for off-site solar construction, remove ambiguities for tax applications, and potentially increase the availability of solar energy to Harvard residents.
“I’m very pleased to have Governor Patrick sign S1238 into law, providing a financial incentive for residents to come together and build a community solar garden for their homes and businesses,” said Senator Jamie Eldridge. “I’m proud of the work of Harvard residents and leaders, Worth Robbins and Eric Broadbent for helping establish the Harvard Community Solar Garden, and praise the people of Harvard for supporting this home rule petition that is now law.”
“Since participating in the Solarize Massachusetts program in 2011, the Harvard community has been dedicated to minimizing their carbon footprint, and providing residents and small businesses the opportunity to invest in solar, who may not have been able to do so otherwise, due to property limitations,” said Representative Benson. “The recently-adopted bill will allow residents participating in community shared solar energy systems, such as the Harvard Solar Garden, to receive the same solar tax benefits as residents who install solar panels on their homes. The Town of Harvard has surpassed many obstacles to make community shared solar a reality, and I am hopeful that they will serve as a model for communities across the Commonwealth.”
This legislation was sponsored by Senator Jamie Eldridge and Representative Jennifer Benson. The bill would help homeowners and businesses install energy-efficient solar panels to lower the cost of electricity and take advantage of renewable energy.
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.