- Increase solar generation to make up 10% of Springfield’s community energy consumption by 2022 and 50% solar by 2050.
- Ensure 50% of all low-income accounts have a 50% or greater discount from community shared solar projects by 2022.
- Improve air quality.
- Utilize solar to maintain a micro-grid that will keep critical facilities operational during power outages.
It is vitally important that actions to develop clean, safe, sustainable sources of energy occur concurrently with energy efficiency work. During the Community Resilience Building workshop, work groups advanced several Springfield-specific recommendations for solar energy and for a downtown micro-grid, but the Strong, Healthy, and Just plan includes a comparable interest in and commitment to researching and integrating all viable renewable energy opportunities in the city.
Community engagement surfaced a sincere interest in, and frustration regarding, securing solar power in Springfield. The community does not have adequate access to strategies or resources that will make solar power affordable and plentiful. Currently the economic benefits of solar are not flowing to low-to-moderate income homeowners and hardly ever to renters. This inequity is exacerbated by the fact that sixty percent of Springfield residents rent their homes. Many residents are uneducated regarding the benefits of owning solar photovoltaic versus leasing, and the financing options available for both. Springfield lacks access to regional and local staff support for the local retention of economic solar benefits, and there are local regulatory barriers to the widespread installation of solar systems. The strategies enumerated below could strengthen the tenant-landlord relationship; create community cohesion and strength; keep money local; prioritize technologies that have low life cycle costs and low negative environmental impacts; and promote equity and equitable access to opportunity, including financial opportunity.
- Identify an expert on solar within the City to field questions and provide technical assistance and guidance to residents and other property owners.
- The Mayor and City Council should pass a resolution stating support for solar goals and strategies.
- Launch an educational campaign sponsored by a resident-led group to explain solar options and financing to other residents.
- Adopt City incentives to achieve stated goals.
- Host a community solar development program and support the development of a local socially equitable tax equity fund to achieve goals for community solar (below).
- Support community shared solar projects with 50% low-to-moderate income (LMI) household buy-in per project.
- Research the feasibility of adopting an ordinance requiring all new and major renovations to include solar or be able to accommodate solar.
- Send experts and City staff and/or residents to participate in statewide discussions on behalf of resident and local business needs with respect to solar and other renewable energy sources.
- Host a group purchasing program for solar, such as Mass Solarize.
- Facilitate a working group of “solar champions” with neighborhood council and civic association involvement to promote solar to residents.