Solar Incentives Arise From Tornado Disasters

When disaster strikes, rebuilding is in order, and it seems that more and more of those rebuilding are focusing on building green. A number of organizations in New Orleans have helped residents return to greener homes in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and the entire town of Greensburg, Kansas, decided to rebuild to LEED standards after a devastating 2007 tornado. Now the state of Massachusetts is making an effort to follow suit, offering residents financial incentives to rebuild with solar in the wake of 2011’s tornadoes.

The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), created by the Green Jobs Act of 2008, is currently offering $1.00 per watt Disaster Relief rebate on solar power for residents rebuilding in the wake of the tornadoes. This funding — along with a little help from Real Goods Solar of California — helped to convince Massachusetts resident Russ Bressette to include a solar power installation on his new, energy efficient home in Monson.

solar power, disaster rebuilding

image via MassCEC

The Natural Disaster Relief Adder from MassCEC is offered in an addition to the state’s Commonwealth Solar II Rebate Program for homeowners who incorporate solar into their rebuilding process, with a total of $1M available in the communities of Brimfield, Charlton, Hampden, Monson, Palmer, Southbridge, Springfield, Sturbridge, West Springfield, Westfield and Wilbraham. Mr. Bressette received $5,000 on top of the state’s regular solar rebate.

MassCEC is hoping that other homeowners rebuilding this year will follow suit. MassCEC Senior Director for Renewable Energy Andy Brydges said, in a statement, “Everyone rebuilding after the tornado should look into the possibility of solar hot water or solar electric as a way to reduce or even erase their monthly utility bill, and reduce their dependence on fossil fuels.”

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.